NASA's Sunspot Prediction Roller Coaster

Guest Posting by Ira Glickstein

Santa brought us a new Sunspot prediction to be added to NASA’s incredibly high series of at least five ill-fated predictions starting in 2006. NASA’s latest peak Sunspot Number for Solar Cycle #24 (SC24) is down 60% from their original, but it still seems a bit too high, judging by David Archibald’s recent WUWT posting that analogizes SC24 and SC25 to SC5 and SC6 which peaked around 50, during the cold period (Dalton minimum) of the early 1800’s.

According to Yogi Berra “It’s tough to make predictions, especially about the future.” Team leader Dr. Mausumi Dikpati of NASA’s National Center for Atmospheric Research and Solar physicist Dr. David Hathaway of the National Space Science & Technology Center have most likely learned that lesson well, having predicted, back in March 2006, that SC24 would start by the end of 2006 or early 2007 and would peak 30% to 50% higher than SC23, which would yield counts of 156 to 180. The latest prediction is 64 (I love their precision :^) but I predict it will have to be reduced further, kind of like an after-Christmas sale :^)

[NOTE added 28 Dec 9:45PM. See clarification comment by: John from CA, December 28, 2010 at 1:44 pm. I was mistaken in conflating NASA with NOAA in the graphic and discussion, wrongly assuming they coordinated their Sunspot predictions. The base chart, as labeled, is from NOAA but the predictions are from Dikpati and/or Hathaway at NASA, but later ones, on a NASA website, may be personal, not official. Thanks John from CA and sorry for my ignorance of government organization. Ira]

NASA Sunspot predictions from 2006 t0 2010. Ira GlicksteinMy graphic traces the downward progression of NASA Sunspot predictions, superimposed over NASA’s NOAA’s latest chart of actual Sunspot Numbers. SC23 is shown from its peak in 2000 to its demise in 2009, along with the rise of SC24 up to the latest November 2010 data. The red hoop, peaking at 90, is left over from their previous prediction and should be replaced by their new prediction in January. [Click graphic for larger version].

As indicated, SC23 peaked at a count of 120 around January 2000. It is instructive to read NASA’s March 2006 predictions (and somewhat humorous until you realize we paid for it). Some direct quotes [emphasis added]:

“The next sunspot cycle will be 30% to 50% stronger than the previous one,” [Dikpati] says… Dikpati’s prediction is unprecedented. In nearly-two centuries since the 11-year sunspot cycle was discovered, scientists have struggled to predict the size of future maxima—and failed. Solar maxima can be intense, as in 1958, or barely detectable, as in 1805, obeying no obvious pattern.

The key to the mystery, Dikpati realized years ago, is a conveyor belt on the sun…

Hathaway … explains: “First, remember what sunspots are–tangled knots of magnetism generated by the sun’s inner dynamo. A typical sunspot exists for just a few weeks. Then it decays, leaving behind a ‘corpse’ of weak magnetic fields.”…

“The top of the conveyor belt skims the surface of the sun, sweeping up the magnetic fields of old, dead sunspots. The ‘corpses’ are dragged down at the poles to a depth of 200,000 km where the sun’s magnetic dynamo can amplify them. Once the corpses (magnetic knots) are reincarnated (amplified), they become buoyant and float back to the surface.” Presto—new sunspots!

All this happens with massive slowness. “It takes about 40 years for the belt to complete one loop,” says Hathaway. The speed varies “anywhere from a 50-year pace (slow) to a 30-year pace (fast).”

When the belt is turning “fast,” it means that lots of magnetic fields are being swept up, and that a future sunspot cycle is going to be intense. This is a basis for forecasting: “The belt was turning fast in 1986-1996,” says Hathaway. “Old magnetic fields swept up then should re-appear as big sunspots in 2010-2011.

Like most experts in the field, Hathaway has confidence in the conveyor belt model and agrees with Dikpati that the next solar maximum should be a doozy. But he disagrees with one point. Dikpati’s forecast puts Solar Max at 2012. Hathaway believes it will arrive sooner, in 2010 or 2011.

“History shows that big sunspot cycles ‘ramp up’ faster than small ones,” he says. “I expect to see the first sunspots of the next cycle appear in late 2006 or 2007—and Solar Max to be underway by 2010 or 2011.”

Who’s right? Time will tell. Either way, a storm is coming.

Did Dikpati and Hathaway honestly believed they had cracked the Sunspot code that had eluded science for two centuries? In hindsight, we all know they were wrong in their heady predictions of a “doozy”. (A doozy, according to Webster is “an extraordinary one of its kind”. NASA expected SC24 to be extraordinarily intense. But it is shaping up to be extraordinarily weak, so they at least get credit for using the correct word :^)

But, were they being honest? Well, Hathaway had long been aware of the relationship between Sunspot counts and climate, writing:

Early records of sunspots indicate that the Sun went through a period of inactivity in the late 17th century. Very few sunspots were seen on the Sun from about 1645 to 1715. … This period of solar inactivity also corresponds to a climatic period called the ‘Little Ice Age’ when rivers that are normally ice-free froze and snow fields remained year-round at lower altitudes. There is evidence that the Sun has had similar periods of inactivity in the more distant past. The connection between solar activity and terrestrial climate is an area of on-going research.

Is it possible that their prediction was skewed to the high side by the prevalent opinion, in the Inconvenient Truth year of 2006, that Global Warming was “settled science”. Could it be that they felt pressured to please their colleagues and superiors by predicting a Sunspot doozy that would presage a doozy of a warm spell?

It seems to me that NASA has a long history of delayed Sunspot predictions, particularly when the trend was downward. They seem to have waited until the actual counts forced them to do so.

Have a look at the graphic. SC23 SC24 [thanks Steeptown December 27, 2010 at 11:37 pm] was supposed to start by early 2007, but it did not. Yet, it took them until October 2008 to revise their prediction of a later start and lower peak (137) and then they dropped it further in January 2009 (predicting a peak of 104 to occur in early 2012).

I am not any kind of expert on Sunspots, yet it was clear to me, nearly two years ago, that 104 was way too high so I predicted a peak of 80 and moved the date of that peak to mid-2013. NASA eventually reduced their peak to 90, and just this month down to 64, and they moved the peak date to mid-2013. My latest prediction is 60, to occur in early 2014, but I believe I may still be a bit too high.

With apologies to Pete Seeger:

Where have all the sunspots gone? NA-SA search-ing,

Where have all the sunspots go-ne? NASA don’t know.

Where have all the sunspots gone? Global Cooling, anyone?

Will NASA ever learn? Will NA-SA ev-er learn?

Where has all the carbon gone? Green-house gas-es,

Where has all the carbon go-ne? Come down as snow!

Where has all the carbon gone? Heating houses, everyone,

Will NASA ever learn? Will NA-SA ev-er learn?

Where has Global Warming gone? Point not tip-ping,

Where has Global Warming go-ne? Its gonna slow.

Where has Global Warming gone? Normal seasons of the Sun,

Will NASA ever learn? Will NA-SA ev-er learn?

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December 27, 2010 7:31 pm

I want to see a graph of NASAs predictions just to show how clueless they are.

December 27, 2010 7:36 pm

They sneaked a new chart in on me. Eyeballing it, it looks like you’re right and the actual trend line is still below the latest prediction. They may even have a hard time keeping within their uncertainty limits on the new chart.
I’d be curious if someone has an image of the old chart to see how close the new prediction is to the uncertainty limits shown on the old chart.

December 27, 2010 7:42 pm

I thought they debunked the idea of the conveyor on the sun just like they did for the earth’s oceans? Obviously, if your understanding of the forces working inside the sun are faulty don’t expect your predictions to pan out. Landschiedt is still the better model even though many solar scientists don’t like the idea of planetary motion influencing the sun due to the massive mass difference.

tokyoboy
December 27, 2010 7:45 pm

You are endowed with a good sense of humor.

rc
December 27, 2010 7:48 pm

How did they come up with their prediction? Models of course:
http://www.ucar.edu/news/releases/2006/sunspot.shtml
“BOULDER—The next sunspot cycle will be 30-50% stronger than the last one and begin as much as a year late, according to a breakthrough forecast using a computer model of solar dynamics developed by scientists at the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR). Predicting the Sun’s cycles accurately, years in advance, will help societies plan for active bouts of solar storms, which can slow satellite orbits, disrupt communications, and bring down power systems.
The scientists have confidence in the forecast because, in a series of test runs, the newly developed model simulated the strength of the past eight solar cycles with more than 98% accuracy.”

E.M.Smith
Editor
December 27, 2010 7:48 pm

Well, the guys predicting sunspots via planet positions have so far beat the pants off of NASA. They guys doing “wiggle matching” of prior patterns to now have beat the pants off NASA. Has anyone NOT beat the pants off NASA?
At least these NASA guys were honest, said it was a prediction, and stand up to be counted (however short they are…) So I’ll give them credit for courage and conviction. Now if they can just look at what other folks have done right…

Brian H
December 27, 2010 7:54 pm

Yeah, my eyeball non-linear extrapolation has been in the mid-50s for some time, well over a year. The lengthening of the cycle is even more telling. Like the slumping when much of the air has been let out of a beachball. 😉

Brian H
December 27, 2010 7:58 pm

As for your indirect suggestion that Hansen leaned on the Sunspot prognosticators: naturally he did! Until things go smash, marketing always overrules engineering and accounting.

Brian H
December 27, 2010 8:05 pm

P.S. Solar flux is on a similar track. http://solarcycle24.com/flux.htm Predicted peak is 140, but I’m betting it won’t exceed 100.

December 27, 2010 8:24 pm

Santa brought us a new Sunspot prediction to be added to NASA’s incredibly high series of at least five ill-fated predictions starting in 2006.
It is normal and proper that forecasters update the prediction with new data and insight as we get closer to the event.
Here is the current “best” estimate of SC24:
http://www.leif.org/research/Predicting%20the%20Solar%20Cycle%20(SORCE%202010).pdf
It is based on what we believe is solid physics. The method has worked for SC21, SC23, and SC23, and looks good for SC24.

Jeremy
December 27, 2010 8:26 pm

Just another example where scientists should get out of the business of making public predictions and get back to formulating the *right* questions.

Anything is possible
December 27, 2010 8:30 pm

With 20/20 hindsight, this makes highly entertaining reading :
http://solarchaos.blogspot.com/2008/11/history-of-cycle-24-predictions.html
Is Dr. Hathaway related to Dr. Hansen by any chance?

December 27, 2010 8:31 pm

Leif Svalgaard says:
Your comment is awaiting moderation.
December 27, 2010 at 8:24 pm
Santa brought us a new Sunspot prediction to be added to NASA’s incredibly high series of at least five ill-fated predictions starting in 2006.
It is normal and proper that forecasters update the prediction with new data and insight as we get closer to the event.
Here is the current “best” estimate of SC24:
http://www.leif.org/research/Predicting%20the%20Solar%20Cycle%20(SORCE%202010).pdf
It is based on what we believe is solid physics. The method has worked for SC21, SC23, and SC23, and looks good for SC24.
Brian H says:
December 27, 2010 at 7:58 pm
As for your indirect suggestion that Hansen leaned on the Sunspot prognosticators: naturally he did!
Nonsense, I was on that prediction panel and know he did not. If anybody leaned, it was the insurance companies who wanted a high, government-sanctioned peak, so they could charge satellite operators more in premiums….

December 27, 2010 8:41 pm

dscott says:
December 27, 2010 at 7:42 pm
many solar scientists don’t like the idea of planetary motion influencing the sun due to the massive mass difference.
The mass is not so important. The important element is the distance: move Jupiter in to an orbit one tenth its present size, and its [tidal] effect will go up a thousand times, and the planetary influence will increase correspondingly. If that is not enough, move Jupiter into an orbit 100 times small than present and its influence will go up a million times. There are star systems like that.

Methow Ken
December 27, 2010 8:43 pm

If it ends up that solar max # for SC24 is reduced even further from the latest projection of 64, that would put us at the Dalton Minimum number or even lower. If that happens, the next decade or so could indeed be VERY interesting. . . .

kim
December 27, 2010 8:48 pm

I love it; insurance companies leading the way to the brave, new, world of post normal premiums.
==============

Robin Kool
December 27, 2010 8:52 pm

The Layman’s Sunspot count for November was 15.
See: http://www.landscheidt.info/?q=node/50

Ranger Joe
December 27, 2010 8:52 pm

Just a bit of boring trivia. If I’m not mistaken the superlative ‘doozy’ is old 30’s slang for the classic Deusenberg automobile. ‘Doozy’ is the Hep Cat equivalent of ‘The Cat’s Pajamas’ or ‘The Bee’s Knees’. They were spectacularly beautiful well made expensive works of art. The most desirable ride of it’s day. Every kid wanted one. Leno’s got a few in his collection. The Hollywood movie star car.

John F. Hultquist
December 27, 2010 8:56 pm

Leif,
The link takes us to a paper dated May 20, 2010.
Your chart is suggesting 72. Is that correct?
When did you first establish 72 as your prediction?
Earlier than that I think.

December 27, 2010 9:00 pm

Robin Kool says:
December 27, 2010 at 8:52 pm
The Layman’s Sunspot count for November was 15.
The Layman’s Sunspot Count is junk, engineered to support an agenda.

Editor
December 27, 2010 9:02 pm

The following is a compilation of NASA’s solar prediction/observation press releases over the last 7 years. Those before 2009 are nothing short of awful, but there appears to have been some improvement (a decrease in wild speculation and sensationalism) since 2009:
Nov 12, 2003: “The Sun Goes Haywire – Solar maximum is years past, yet the sun has been remarkably active lately. Is the sunspot cycle broken?”
http://science.nasa.gov/headlines/y2003/12nov_haywire.htm
Oct 18, 2004: “Something strange happened on the sun last week: all the sunspots vanished. This is a sign, say scientists, that solar minimum is coming sooner than expected.”
http://science.nasa.gov/headlines/y2004/18oct_solarminimum.htm
May 5, 2005: “Solar Myth – With solar minimum near, the sun continues to be surprisingly active.”
http://science.nasa.gov/headlines/y2005/05may_solarmyth.htm
Sept 15, 2005: “Solar Minimum Explodes – Solar minimum is looking strangely like Solar Max.”
http://science.nasa.gov/headlines/y2005/15sep_solarminexplodes.htm
Aug 15th, 2006: “Backward Sunspot – A strange little sunspot may herald the coming of one of the stormiest solar cycles in decades.”
http://science.nasa.gov/headlines/y2006/15aug_backwards.htm
Dec 21, 2006 “Scientists Predict Big Solar Cycle – Evidence is mounting: the next solar cycle is going to be a big one.”
http://science.nasa.gov/headlines/y2006/21dec_cycle24.htm
Dec 14, 2007 “Is a New Solar Cycle Beginning? – The solar physics community is abuzz this week. ”
http://science.nasa.gov/headlines/y2007/14dec_excitement.htm
Jan 10, 2008: “Solar Cycle 24 – Hang on to your cell phone, a new solar cycle has just begun.
http://science.nasa.gov/headlines/y2008/10jan_solarcycle24.htm
March 28, 2008: “Old Solar Cycle Returns – Barely three months after forecasters announced the beginning of new Solar Cycle 24, old Solar Cycle 23 has returned.”
http://science.nasa.gov/headlines/y2008/28mar_oldcycle.htm
July 11, 2008: “What’s Wrong with the Sun? (Nothing) – Stop the presses! The sun is behaving normally.”
http://science.nasa.gov/headlines/y2008/11jul_solarcycleupdate.htm
Sept. 30, 2008: “Spotless Sun: Blankest Year of the Space Age
– Sunspot counts are at a 50-year low – We’re experiencing a deep minimum of the solar cycle.”
http://science.nasa.gov/headlines/y2008/30sep_blankyear.htm
Nov. 7, 2008: The Sun Shows Signs of Life – I think solar minimum is behind us”
http://science.nasa.gov/headlines/y2008/07nov_signsoflife.htm
April 1, 2009: Deep Solar Minimum – We’re experiencing a very deep solar minimum – This is the quietest sun we’ve seen in almost a century”
http://science.nasa.gov/headlines/y2009/01apr_deepsolarminimum.htm
May 29, 2009: “If our prediction is correct, Solar Cycle 24 will have a peak sunspot number of 90, the lowest of any cycle since 1928 when Solar Cycle 16 peaked at 78,”
http://science.nasa.gov/headlines/y2009/29may_noaaprediction.htm
June 17, 2009: “Mystery of the Missing Sunspots, Solved? The sun is in the pits of a century-class solar minimum, and sunspots have been puzzlingly scarce for more than two years.”
http://science.nasa.gov/headlines/y2009/17jun_jetstream.htm
September 3, 2009: “Are Sunspots Disappearing? – The sun is in the pits of the deepest solar minimum in nearly a century. Weeks and sometimes whole months go by without even a single tiny sunspot. The quiet has dragged out for more than two years, prompting some observers to wonder, are sunspots disappearing?
http://science.nasa.gov/headlines/y2009/03sep_sunspots.htm
September 29, 2009 “Cosmic Rays Hit Space Age High – In 2009, cosmic ray intensities have increased 19% beyond anything we’ve seen in the past 50 years,” says Richard Mewaldt of Caltech. “The increase is significant, and it could mean we need to re-think how much radiation shielding astronauts take with them on deep-space missions.”
http://science.nasa.gov/headlines/y2009/29sep_cosmicrays.htm
March 12, 2010 “NASA – Solar ‘Current of Fire’ Speeds Up – the top of the sun’s Great Conveyor Belt has been running at record-high speeds for the past five years. ”
http://science.nasa.gov/science-news/science-at-nasa/2010/12mar_conveyorbelt/
July 15, 2010 “A Puzzling Collapse of Earth’s Upper Atmosphere – This is the biggest contraction of the thermosphere in at least 43 years”
http://science.nasa.gov/science-news/science-at-nasa/2010/15jul_thermosphere/
Sept. 21, 2010: “Solar Storms can Change Directions, Surprising Forecasters”
http://science.nasa.gov/science-news/science-at-nasa/2010/21sep_zigzag/
Dec. 13, 2010: “Global Eruption Rocks the Sun – A global eruption on the sun has shattered old ideas about solar activity.”
http://science.nasa.gov/science-news/science-at-nasa/2010/13dec_globaleruption/
My question to NASA, is the sun still “behaving normally” and what exactly is normal behavior for a 4.6 Billion year-old G-type Main Sequence Star?

Brian H
December 27, 2010 9:07 pm

Leif Svalgaard says:
December 27, 2010 at 8:31 pm

Brian H says:
December 27, 2010 at 7:58 pm
As for your indirect suggestion that Hansen leaned on the Sunspot prognosticators: naturally he did!
Nonsense, I was on that prediction panel and know he did not. If anybody leaned, it was the insurance companies who wanted a high, government-sanctioned peak, so they could charge satellite operators more in premiums….
//
Direct marketing pressure, huh?
Are you also prepared to attest that covering H’s fundament didn’t occur to or influence any of the panel?

John in NZ
December 27, 2010 9:22 pm

The test of a good theory is how well it can make predictions. Is it fair to say that their repeated failure to successfully predict indicates there is something terribly wrong with the theory, or am I just being picky.
Thanks to Ranger Joe for the explanation of “doozy”. I have always loved the word.

Editor
December 27, 2010 9:26 pm

Also, here is part of a November 3rd 2009 interview with “David Hathaway, Ph.D., NASA Heliospheric Team Leader” :
http://sc25.com/index.php?id=114
In reference the question, “What Happened to 2006 Predictions of Huge Solar Cycle 24?” he stated that, “I am writing a paper – it’s on my computer as we speak (laughs) – basically saying that I made a big mistake – myself and Bob Wilson – when we wrote a paper in 2006, suggesting Solar Cycle 24 was going to be a huge cycle based on conditions at that time. The problem we had with our prediction was that it was based on a method that assumes that we’re near sunspot cycle minimum.”
Additionally, in response to the question, “IS IT FAIR TO SAY THAT THE SUN IS BOTH PECULIAR AND UNPREDICTABLE?”, he stated. “Yeah, I’d buy that! (laughs) Most definitely!”
Also interesting in the interview is David’s statement in reference to our resident solar expert:
“But there also were people back at that time saying otherwise. A group of colleagues led by Leif Svalgaard, Ph.D., were looking at the sun’s polar fields and saying even at that point, the sun’s polar fields were significantly weaker than they had been before and those scientists back then predicted it was going to be a small cycle.”
I give David Hathaway credit for admitting his mistakes and giving credit where credits due, though I wish he’d have given the interview to a source that doesn’t have a paywall:
http://www.earthfiles.com/subscription.php?accesscheck=%2Fnews.php

trbixler
December 27, 2010 9:30 pm

50 has been my call even when the sky rocket energy influenced NASA had called for the doozy. Not that there is any science behind it other than it is a nice round number and as my energy taxes go up I can know it was all for aggrandizement of government.

JinOH
December 27, 2010 9:34 pm

As a ham radio operator – I don’t need to see NASA’s silly predictions – I can tell you 100% the predictions have failed miserably. I should be in H.F. ecstasy by now – alas, no go. This cycle is flat to dead (so far). I’m bummed out. I really like H.F. communications with my fellow hams around the world – more than – a window of 10 minutes to 1/2 hour (at best) to the far east (on a GOOD day).
Yet the NASA/CRU/IPCC ‘Gurus’ can predict the friggin CLIMATE 40-100 years in advance using flawed data.
I still amazes me that man can try to predict or control what nature does.
Hopefully, I’ll get that advanced warning in the spring that tells me a tornado is about to hit my house. Er – I won’t.
73

Mick
December 27, 2010 9:37 pm

Dr. Svalgaard, my respect (high alredy) just grow with this:
“…the insurance companies who wanted a high, government-sanctioned peak, so they could charge satellite operators more in premiums….”
I take a bow.
Best Regards,
Mick of Oz.

Marc DeRosa
December 27, 2010 9:47 pm

People really need to temper their expectations regarding sunspot cycle predictions. I don’t understand why anyone thinks that these would be incredibly accurate in the first place, given that (1) the sun is a complicated, nonlinear system that does not lend itself well to long-term predictions, and (2) the input parameters thought to be required for good predictions are available for at most 30 historical cycles, and thus any hindcasting used to test candidate methods can only be tested on a statistically small number of previous cycles.
People also need to keep in mind that NASA, like many other government-funded entities, is often in the business of drawing attention to (for the purpose of drumming up support for) its programs, and so making big splashes with attention-grabbing headlines about cutting-edge science should be expected. Perceptive people realize that such cutting-edge science results need to be taken with the usual grain of salt associated with cutting-edge science. Essentially what I’m trying to say is (in more succinct internet lingo): YMMV.

Al Gored
December 27, 2010 9:57 pm

I assume these same insurance companies are raising premiums on oceanfront property due to predictions of sea level rise too, as well as for everything somehow linked to the future horrors of climate disruption.

December 27, 2010 10:08 pm

So according to insiders, NASA’s sunspots predictions are subject to extortionist actions of the insurance companies who insure satellites?
Let’s not go off the deep conspiracy end here, please. I would like to see some evidence of that contention. Otherwise it sounds like a paltry excuse for gross incompetence by an agency infamous for its catastrophic failures.
Did the Mafia-like insurance companies also cause the Challenger disaster? The Martian lander crash? Which insurance companies are they? AIG? What other NASA programs are subject to extortion by insurance companies? Are they the same companies behind the Da Vinci Code? Area 51? Are they Birthers?

December 27, 2010 10:27 pm

Brian H says:
December 27, 2010 at 9:07 pm
Are you also prepared to attest that covering H’s fundament didn’t occur to or influence any of the panel?
I cannot speak for the others, but I was not pressured or didn’t feel that there was any influence. Now, there was pressure for getting a very high prediction. One can only speculate why [and such is not too useful]. My own assessment was that NASA and NOAA wanted to push the ‘breakthrough” theory they had funded. But the panel showed its independence by 1) initially not following the governments instructions to produce a single number, but being split, and 2) eventually going with a low prediction [although still too high IMO].
John F. Hultquist says:
December 27, 2010 at 8:56 pm
When did you first establish 72 as your prediction? Earlier than that I think.
The original prediction was for 75 in 2004. The later development of the polar fields suggested a lower value, hence 72. Slide 30 of http://www.leif.org/research/Predicting%20the%20Solar%20Cycle%20(SORCE%202010).pdf shows how we arrive at 72. Now, we are really predicting 6 active regions [and statistically in the past the sunspot number is 12 times the number of regions]. If Livingston and Penn are correct, some of those regions might not be visible [except on magnetograms], so who knows what the sunspot will be. In a sense, the number of visible spots is not a good measure of solar activity. Rather the magnetic regions [and the attendant F10.7 and UV] are. This is what we must predict.

old construction worker
December 27, 2010 10:33 pm

‘Brian H says:
December 27, 2010 at 7:58 pm
As for your indirect suggestion that Hansen leaned on the Sunspot prognosticators: naturally he did!
Nonsense, I was on that prediction panel and know he did not. If anybody leaned, it was the insurance companies who wanted a high, government-sanctioned peak, so they could charge satellite operators more in premiums….
That, I could believe.

December 27, 2010 10:35 pm

Marc DeRosa says:
December 27, 2010 at 9:47 pm
People really need to temper their expectations regarding sunspot cycle predictions. I don’t understand why anyone thinks that these would be incredibly accurate in the first place
Marc is, of course, correct here. There are even good scientists [e.g. Tobias] who claim that prediction is essentially impossible. Every new solar cycle is, practically, a test of the current crop of ‘theories’ or guesses. This game is new and is still a guessing game, [although with some physical support]. Here I discount the astrologers [and other cyclomanics] who claim to predict with incredible precision hundreds of years in the future. Such predictions are rather safe as we’ll not be around to see them fail.

Brian H
December 27, 2010 10:48 pm

Marc;
More like BBB.

Jim G
December 27, 2010 10:56 pm

At least no one is claiming that the sunspot counts are lower because the counts are actually getting larger!

Werner Brozek
December 27, 2010 11:08 pm

Marc DeRosa says:
December 27, 2010 at 9:47 pm
People really need to temper their expectations regarding sunspot cycle predictions……Perceptive people realize that such cutting-edge science results need to be taken with the usual grain of salt…”
It seems to me that everything you said about sunspot cycle predictions could be appropriately modified for future climate predictions. And with that being the case, a good argument could be made that not too much money should be spent based on these types of predictions. Or are NASA’s predictions on climate more credible?

December 27, 2010 11:13 pm

Leif Svalgaard says:
December 27, 2010 at 9:00 pm

The Layman’s Sunspot Count is junk, engineered to support an agenda.

I can feel the fear in your voice from here. NASA now predicting a lower figure than yourself. I have not needed to change my prediction (2008) of sub 50, this prediction is based on solid data which has the ability to recognize a grand minimum when its coming. The northern hemisphere winter prediction also very nicely on track.

kim
December 27, 2010 11:20 pm

A question no one can answer, so I ask it anyway. Two phenomena; weak cycle and the Livingston and Penn Effect. Are they related?
===========

Werner Brozek
December 27, 2010 11:23 pm

“Leif Svalgaard says:
December 27, 2010 at 8:41 pm
The important element is the distance: move Jupiter in to an orbit one tenth its present size, and its [tidal] effect will go up a thousand times, and the planetary influence will increase correspondingly.”
So in other words, even though the force of gravity varies inversely as the square of the distance, the tidal effect vary inversely as the cube of the distance. Is that correct?

Steeptown
December 27, 2010 11:37 pm

Typo “SC23 was supposed to start by early 2007, but it did not.” Should be SC24.
[Thanks, fixed. Ira]

old44
December 27, 2010 11:41 pm

NASA’s latest peak Sunspot Number for Solar Cycle #24 (SC24) is down 60% from their original
What exactly is the fine line between prediction and wild guesses?

old44
December 27, 2010 11:44 pm

Second thought, how many of NASA’s statisticians would get a job with a bookmaker?

DeNihilist
December 27, 2010 11:55 pm

Like Dr. Walt, I respect Dr. Hathaway for being so truthful. Nothing wrong in making a prediction. It only becomes bad when you try to cover up the mistake by hiding the data, using ad-homs, or just generaly being beligerent. Dr. Hathaway is none of the above.

December 28, 2010 12:02 am

Leif Svalgaard says:
December 27, 2010 at 8:24 pm
Here is the current “best” estimate of SC24:
http://www.leif.org/research/Predicting%20the%20Solar%20Cycle%20(SORCE%202010).pdf
It is based on what we believe is solid physics.

Leif, we can surely see signs of stellar cycles out there on a million stars with the same mass, age, spectral class, chemical composition, etc. as the Sun. How are they doing?

December 28, 2010 12:14 am

Geoff Sharp says:
December 27, 2010 at 11:13 pm
I can feel the fear in your voice from here.
What nonsense.
NASA now predicting a lower figure than yourself.
L&P predicts zero spots…
I have not needed to change my prediction (2008) of sub 50, this prediction is based on solid data which has the ability to recognize a grand minimum when its coming.
The data has no ability. A theory has, and you don’t have any theory.
Werner Brozek says:
December 27, 2010 at 11:23 pm
the tidal effect vary inversely as the cube of the distance. Is that correct?
Yes
Berényi Péter says:
December 28, 2010 at 12:02 am
Leif, we can surely see signs of stellar cycles out there on a million stars with the same mass, age, spectral class, chemical composition, etc. as the Sun. How are they doing?
We see stellar cycles in sun-like stars. There is a tendency for the periods to cluster around 10 years, but there is large scatter.

December 28, 2010 12:22 am

kim says:
December 27, 2010 at 11:20 pm
A question no one can answer, so I ask it anyway. Two phenomena; weak cycle and the Livingston and Penn Effect. Are they related?
Not related….but the same thing.

December 28, 2010 12:25 am

Berényi Péter says:
December 28, 2010 at 12:02 am
How are they doing?
Some material here: http://www.lowell.edu/workshops/SolarAnalogsII/program.php

Michael
December 28, 2010 12:31 am

I just thank God every day for the solar minimum. Some people need to learn a hard lesson. It’s the Sun Stupid.
I suppose this horrific body count from the freezing weather conditions don’t matter to the man-made global warming cult.
“A total of 11,193 deaths were registered in England and Wales bet­ween December 3 and 10, the Office for National Statistics has revealed.
This is a 21 per cent rise on the previous week, which works out at 282 extra deaths every day.”
Britain’s big freeze death toll hits 300 every day
Nearly 300 more people a day died when freezing temperatures hit at the start of this month, new figures show.
http://www.metro.co.uk/news/851254-britains-big-freeze-death-toll-hits-300-every-day

Brian H
December 28, 2010 12:49 am

Werner;
AFAIK, gravity also varies as the inverse square of the distance. But Jupiter is around 500 million miles from the Sun now; moving it in to 50 million would put it just inside Venus’ orbit, and only about 40 million miles from Earth (closest approach) vs. about 400 million miles now. Furthest would go from about 600 million mi. to 100 million mi. Average from 550 million down to 70 million. (Very rough rounded figures.)
So I don’t see how Lief gets his number. Maybe he’ll explain.
[Partial sentence removed by request… bl57~mod]

brad
December 28, 2010 12:56 am

We are just getting around to studying the sun the SDO, SIM and TIM and all the rest. We should have done this instead of the ill fated ISS. Science has shown over the years that data always oveerturns the old paradigms held dear by the old profs that created them (and control the peer reviewed journals) and they will stick to their stupidity to the end.
We do not understand even basic solar output according to recent SIM and TIM data, do not understand sunspots, and do not understand the primary drivers of solar wind. We are idiots – the old guys need to get over themselves and admit it.
By the way, the real solar guys say they are still nine months out from any ability to predict anything with precision.
The real news to watch is Livingston and Penn magnetic data that might show a coming true great minimum – and then we will know if the hard winters are going to get worse in coming decades.

AlanG
December 28, 2010 1:32 am

Leif, I printed off you pdf to study it carefully. Nice to have a real expert instead of NASA PR announcements. Thanks for draining my blue ink tank 🙂

Brian H
December 28, 2010 1:46 am

Just did some refresher reading, and the cube law is correct. But I’d like to see Lief’s explanation if possible. It’s a bit mind-twisting, once you step outside of the equations.

Nick
December 28, 2010 1:48 am

My observations are this. 98% back test accuracy and a failure in prediction of this scale is cast iron proof that the models used are drastically flawed and are probably nothing more than a glorified curve fitting exercise.
Second, there does seem to be a change going on. From what was a regularish cycle, it does come across as broken.

December 28, 2010 2:04 am

Sun and the major planets determine events in the solar system. Earth as part of this system and slotted between these major players, it is inevitably under the influence and subject to the gravito-magnetic interactions.
Gravity makes ‘things go around’, magnetism provides links, via powerful magnetic storms / ropes.
From Sunspot numbers
http://www.vukcevic.talktalk.net/LFC11.htm
Sun’s magnetic field
http://www.vukcevic.talktalk.net/LFC2.htm
to the possible effects on the Earth’s climate as in
the latest finding
http://www.vukcevic.talktalk.net/CETpr.htm
can be demonstrated by using simple calculations with the astronomic data alone.

Sean Houlihane
December 28, 2010 2:09 am

This posting is a crock. You only need to look at the number and spread of ‘serious’ predictions for the cycle from five years ago to understand that there is no good understanding about how we can make predictions about the sun’s cycles. As a collection, the predictions have very little predictive power (even Leif’s method which seems to be coming good – did that have any history of blind testing?).
Ascribing motive when there is no need just de-values your own argument.
Everyone who is now claiming their methods are being proven – was it luck, or was there any strong evidence when the claim was made that your model parameters were better than anyone else’s?

Jcarels
December 28, 2010 2:14 am

Leif Svalgaard says:
Now, we are really predicting 6 active regions [and statistically in the past the sunspot number is 12 times the number of regions]. If Livingston and Penn are correct, some of those regions might not be visible [except on magnetograms], so who knows what the sunspot will be. In a sense, the number of visible spots is not a good measure of solar activity. Rather the magnetic regions [and the attendant F10.7 and UV] are.
There already have been moments during SC24 when there where 6 active regions visible on the magnetograms.

Cassandra King
December 28, 2010 3:02 am

Sean Houlihane says:
December 28, 2010 at 2:09 am
This posting is a crock. You only need to look at the number and spread of ‘serious’ predictions for the cycle from five years ago to understand that there is no good understanding about how we can make predictions about the sun’s cycles. As a collection, the predictions have very little predictive power (even Leif’s method which seems to be coming good – did that have any history of blind testing?).
Ascribing motive when there is no need just de-values your own argument.
Everyone who is now claiming their methods are being proven – was it luck, or was there any strong evidence when the claim was made that your model parameters were better than anyone else’s?
There is the no small detail that NASA is charging the taxpayers of the USA a very great deal of money to make these predictions and they are not just wrong within the acceptable variables, they have been shown to be dead wrong, utterly wrong and yet these predictions were sold as the latest and greatest all the bells and whistles satisfaction guaranteed product. A taxpayer funded organisation that makes so many errors and mistakes and consistently outputs an embarrassingly poor product should be held to account, the federal government chooses not to do this so someone has to. We seem to lumbered with national institutions so inept and incompetent it is hard to fathom why no action to rectify the problems isnt being considered.
We are constantly informed that these national institutions are the very finest money can buy, they cost a great deal of money and yet the product clearly and obviously fails the most basic standards of quality and reliability. A case in point is the UKMO/CRU/UEA as it bleeds hundreds of millions out of the taxpayer for such appallingly poor end product that it has become a worldwide sick joke. NASA is taking the same route as the UKMO and will plummet to joke status soon.
[Thanks Cassandra for your reply to Sean. I could not have said it better myself. Ira]

December 28, 2010 3:42 am

Geoff Sharp says:
December 27, 2010 at 11:13 pm
I have not needed to change my prediction (2008) of sub 50, this prediction is based on solid data which has the ability to recognize a grand minimum when its coming. The northern hemisphere winter prediction also very nicely on track.

My prediction has been constant at 42 since April 2008. It was based on a “birds eye view” of the science, pseudosciences, failed curve-fitting predictions etc., plus a realisation that solar grand minima indeed occur from time to time. And as we know, 42 is the answer to everything.
Anyone with a hunch could do it. This time, NASA didn’t have it.

Pops
December 28, 2010 4:02 am

Leif Svalgaard says:
December 27, 2010 at 9:00 pm
Robin Kool says:
December 27, 2010 at 8:52 pm
The Layman’s Sunspot count for November was 15.
The Layman’s Sunspot Count is junk, engineered to support an agenda.
++++++++++++++++++++
Sneered like someone with an agenda to support.

cedarhill
December 28, 2010 4:16 am

This entire line of analysis seems to be like the celestial spheres but Kepler has yet to come forward and be acknowledged. One thing that is striking is the comment about other steller systems. One wonders what Kepler would have done had he not had to contend with several planetary orbits. Solar science has expended enormous efforts on measuring a single, aging star. Underscore “aging”. Underscore “single”.
In some regards, this seems to be similar to bioscience developing theories about genetic diseases by only studying a single person, as that person aged while only being able to observe others using a hand held telescope from the other side of an ocean. One or more researchers will almost certainly guess “mostly right” about the cause but will not be able to predict how the disease will progress until afterwards.
Tobias, as Lief pointed out, may very well be right. One can only do so much with one steller body.

Mike Haseler
December 28, 2010 4:39 am

NASA are just a joke!

jeremy
December 28, 2010 5:29 am

We really should stop arguing over predictions in science. This is a completely worthless activity and doesn’t advance knowledge any. If you want to be able to predict something, learn first. We’re putting the predictions ahead of the learning here, and it’s sad to watch.

Andrew M
December 28, 2010 5:44 am

I’m confused by the insinuation that the early high predictions were some sort of conspiracy with the global warming agenda folks.. wouldn’t a high sunspot number give the denialists ammo for the warmth vs. CO2? Not to mention we’re talking about something completely measurable within a short time frame. I think you guys are giving these scientists more credit than they deserve in terms of political manipulation abilities…

Carla
December 28, 2010 5:52 am

Leif Svalgaard says:
December 28, 2010 at 12:14 am
Werner Brozek says:
December 27, 2010 at 11:23 pm
the tidal effect vary inversely as the cube of the distance. Is that correct?
Yes
~
Well if I learn nothing new today than that above, ok by me.
And Geoff, wish you would take the time to read this in its entirety. Your little solar cycle problem in the 60’s could be addressed by a TSAS.
~
“Time-variability in the Interstellar Boundary Conditions
of the Heliosphere over the past 60,000 years:
Impact of the Solar Journey on the Galactic Cosmic Ray Flux
at Earth”
Priscilla C. Frisch · Hans-Reinhard Mueller
Oct 21, 2010
..the galactic environment of the Sun changes rapidly. From upwind to downwind,
interstellar velocities in the solar inertial system (”heliocentric”, HC) are –28.4 km s−1
towards 36 Oph, 26.3 km s−1 in the inner heliosphere, and 23.4 km s−1 towards χ1
Ori. If all other cloud parameters are the same, there is a 50% difference in the ram
pressures of these clouds, which alone leads to a significant distortion of the heliosphere..
…Not all nearby clouds are warm and diffuse. Tiny scale atomic structures (TSAS)
are observed throughout the ISM, with typical sizes 30 AU,..
..TSAS are associated with warm tenuous ISM, and may form in converging interstellar flows.
The Leo cloud occurs where the S1 and S2 shells may collide (Frisch 2010).
~
Wondering aloud.. if we can’t see sunspots below 1500 gauss how would we realise a galactic size, scale magnetic flux tube if the sun were to pass thru one say starting with solar cycle 19 and ending ABRUPTLY DURING SOLAR CYCLE 23’s ending? Oh the sizes of galactic magnetic flux tubes surrounding super shell boundaries. Lions and tigers and bears.. oh no..

Jason Calley
December 28, 2010 5:53 am

Yes, the gravitational tidal forces follow an inverse cube law. Here’s why:
As everyone knows, gravitational attraction follows an inverse square law, but tidal forces are not the same as straight, unadulterated attraction. Tidal forces are the result of gravitational attraction being stronger on one side of an object than the other. For instance, the side of our Moon that is closer to earth experiences a stronger attraction to Earth than the lunar far side. That difference in force is tidal force, a stretching of the moon into a slightly oblong sphere pointing toward the earth. If the Moon were to be placed into a VERY close orbit around the earth, the stretching would become so pronounced that the Moon would be pulled into bits. So, where does the inverse cube come in? Since we are discussing a force that is simply a difference of attraction from one side of an object to the other, we need to know how that attraction is changing over distance. In other words, what is the rate of change of attraction as a function of distance? This is nothing other than the first derivative of gravitational attraction, the rate of change of an inverse square. First derivatives of inverse squares are inverse cubes — actually a negative inverse cube. That negative indicates that the tidal force is not pulling the object together, like normal attraction, but is pulling it apart.

Robuk
December 28, 2010 6:06 am

Leif Svalgaard says:
December 27, 2010 at 10:27 pm
In a sense, the number of visible spots is not a good measure of solar activity.
No but it is a good indicator of the climate sun link, at present you don`t have any more of a clue what the mechanism is than did Galileo.
For me I can`t believe that the continuous high sunspot count and short solar cycle length since around 1940 can`t cause a continuous warming over that time even if there is just a flat trend, especially when it`s linked to a 30 warm phase of the PDO. Put that together with the dodgy UHI corrupted temperature data and what have you got about 0.4C warming, not much room for co2.
http://i446.photobucket.com/albums/qq187/bobclive/pdo-1.jpg
http://i446.photobucket.com/albums/qq187/bobclive/reconstructedTSI.jpg

Robin Kool
December 28, 2010 6:14 am

• • Leif Svalgaard says:
December 27, 2010 at 9:00 pm
Robin Kool says:
December 27, 2010 at 8:52 pm
The Layman’s Sunspot count for November was 15.
The Layman’s Sunspot Count is junk, engineered to support an agenda.
=======================================================
The people who create the Layman’s Sunspot Number state that they want a number that is comparable with the numbers from the 1700s, when the sun was observed with very weak telescopes.
Right now we have powerful telescopes with which we see very little specks that the scientists in the 1700s didn’t see. Sounds very logical to me.
And I too want as a long series of sunspot numbers as possible, to get an idea of the relationship of Sunspot Numbers and climate.
All we have to compare the activity of the sun now with the 1700s are Sunspot Numbers. So that’s really a big thing in the whole climate discussion.
If the Layman’ Sunspot Number is junk, you would do us all a huge favor by taking a few minutes of your valuable time to explain us why.
And if they have an agenda other than they state – the desire to compare Sunspot Number fairly with the 1700s – then I invite you to tell us what that agenda is.
Unsubstantiated accusations on this forum leave a bit of a bad taste in the mouth. We get so much of that from the alarmists, let’s make a habit of not doing that ourselves

John from CA
December 28, 2010 6:31 am

LOL, “With apologies to Pete Seeger”
– It looks like the Prediction Panel only meets once a year?
– Who is on the Prediction Panel? I checked over their site but didn’t see any panel information.
Solar Cycle Progression
Presented by the NOAA/Space Weather Prediction Center
“May 8, 2009 — The Solar Cycle 24 Prediction Panel has reached a consensus decision on the prediction of the next solar cycle (Cycle 24). First, the panel has agreed that solar minimum occurred in December, 2008. This still qualifies as a prediction since the smoothed sunspot number is only valid through September, 2008. The panel has decided that the next solar cycle will be below average in intensity, with a maximum sunspot number of 90. Given the predicted date of solar minimum and the predicted maximum intensity, solar maximum is now expected to occur in May, 2013. Note, this is a consensus opinion, not a unanimous decision. A supermajority of the panel did agree to this prediction.”

Jeff
December 28, 2010 6:39 am

How long until the good folks at NASA say the spots are really there, just hidden by the low contrast (Livingston/Penn)? Another triumph for the models!

Jcarels
December 28, 2010 6:45 am

The layman sunspot people want to count sunspots like in the 1700 that’s why they use today’s SOHO and SDO images…
Besides that they never observed the sun with a telescope of that time for a long period of time. How do they that their comparison holds up? They even never looked at the sun through an telescope of that time!
An recent telescope has different glass types and coatings than the old ones. If they want to do it properly they have to use an original telescope of that time.

John from CA
December 28, 2010 6:50 am

Space Weather Prediction Center (SWPC)
http://www.swpc.noaa.gov/index.html
Isn’t SWPC part of NOAA? How does NASA (other than launching solar satellites) fit into the prediction panel?

Tom in frozen Florida
December 28, 2010 6:52 am

Leif Svalgaard says: {December 27, 2010 at 8:31 pm}
“Nonsense, I was on that prediction panel and know he did not. If anybody leaned, it was the insurance companies who wanted a high, government-sanctioned peak, so they could charge satellite operators more in premiums….”
I recall the post that Dr S said this very thing. His position of 75 spots was overruled by the panel and the “official” count was higher.
The reasoning seemed to be that an error on the low side keeping insurance premiums down would be financially devastating to the insurance companies but erring on the high side would not.

John from CA
December 28, 2010 7:19 am

Ira,
I followed up using your “new Sunspot prediction” link and found myself on a NASA site that’s making predictions and using information that’s different from the NOAA/SWPC graph you’re presenting.
I guess the obvious question is why do we need 2 solar prediction groups in different government agencies who don’t appear to be coordinating over their incorrect predictions?
NOAA
http://www.noaa.gov/about-noaa.html
“NOAA is an agency that enriches life through science. Our reach goes from the surface of the sun to the depths of the ocean floor as we work to keep citizens informed of the changing environment around them.”
NASA
http://www.nasa.gov/about/highlights/what_does_nasa_do.html
“NASA’s mission is to pioneer the future in space exploration, scientific discovery and aeronautics research.”
“To do that, thousands of people have been working around the world — and off of it — for 50 years, trying to answer some basic questions. What’s out there in space? How do we get there? What will we find? What can we learn there, or learn just by trying to get there, that will make life better here on Earth?”

harrywr2
December 28, 2010 7:40 am

Leif Svalgaard says:
December 27, 2010 at 8:31 pm
Nonsense, I was on that prediction panel and know he did not. If anybody leaned, it was the insurance companies who wanted a high, government-sanctioned peak, so they could charge satellite operators more in premiums….
It’s more complicated then that.
For insurance companies, future loss cash reserves are ‘non taxable’.
Just imagine if you could deduct from your present taxes the amount of money you might lose if an earthquake or flood damaged your home at some point in the future.
I’m pretty sure that if I could take the same deductions as an insurance company, at tax time Al Gore would be the worlds pre-eminent scientist.

Don B
December 28, 2010 7:51 am

Leif, at 8:31 pm yesterday:
Re the statement that the insurance industry wanted a high sunspot number; here is another example:
Pielke, Jr. has commented on a Florida newspaper article that an insurance organization brought together scientists to predict higher hurricance landfalls, so as to raise rates.
http://rogerpielkejr.blogspot.com/2010/10/disasters-wanted-math-of-capitalizing.html

John from CA
December 28, 2010 7:52 am

Yikes!
If you compare the Hathaway/NASA/MSFC — http://solarscience.msfc.nasa.gov/images/ssn_predict_l.gif — prediction to NOAA/SWPC data — http://www.swpc.noaa.gov/ftpdir/weekly/Predict.txt — we end up with a NASA prediction of even less HIGH sunspot activity than NOAA. Both appear to use LOW activity of zero for 2018 and 2019.
Its worse than we thought but at least it gives the MET Office a few years to stock up on snow shovels to hand out down the road. : \

December 28, 2010 7:55 am

Robin Kool says:
December 28, 2010 at 6:14 am
If the Layman’ Sunspot Number is junk, you would do us all a huge favor by taking a few minutes of your valuable time to explain us why.
The purpose of the LSC is supposedly to get a sunspot number that Rudolf Wolf would have counted. Wolf did not [on purpose] count the smallest specks and pores. Later observers pointed out that the decision on what not to count was then very arbitrary [as there was no precise definition of what not to count]. A better method [and that is used by everybody since the 1880s] is to count everything you can see [with a given telescope]. Since different people have different acuity [and experience] they would still count differently, but that can be measured by comparing with others.
Wolf used a 8 cm aperture refractor at magnification 64 in the 1850s. This telescope still exists and is still being used. Wolf did not observe during the Dalton minimum [almost nobody did] and the sunspot number he reconstructed for that time is mainly based on counts of aurorae and simple interpolation between the very sparse actual observations.
From 1861 on, Wolf mostly used an even smaller telescope [handheld and portable – as he was often on travel]. He determined that he needed to multiply the counts with that smaller scope by 1.5 to match what he would count with the 8 cm ‘standard’ telescope. His assistant, Wolfer, was using the 8 cm in parallel with Wolf for 17 years and determined that to get to the same count as Wolf, he would have to multiply his own counts [which included everything] by 0.6. So now we have this convoluted scheme: Wolf counts 20 [say] with the small handheld scope, multiplies that by 1.5 getting 30 and claims that that is what he would have counted with the 8 cm. Wolfer using the 8 cm [counting everything] counts 50, then multiplies by 0.6: 50*0.6 = 30, as an estimate of what Wolf would have counted. With me so far?
The Wolfer count is the better method [as it is better defined], but Wolfer wanted to stay compatible with the old [already published] Wolf list, so the 0.6 factor has become the ‘conversion’ factor between the ‘all count’ and the Wolf count. Now, the LSC people think that the Wolf number ‘is under threat’ [by some conspiracy it seems] and want to restore the count to ‘what Wolf would have counted’. The reason for this seems to be the desire to show that we are entering a Dalton-type grand minimum, and the official count is claimed to be [nefariously] too high, so needs to be reduced to fulfill the prophesy. The way to reduce the official count is to remove groups that are too small [below a ‘threshold’] and subtract their contribution from the official SIDC sunspot number. So, here is what is wrong with the LSC:
1) Wolf did not observe during the Dalton minimum, so there are no ‘Wolf numbers’ to reproduce
2) The threshold [for throwing out groups] is uncalibrated. I.e. there were no comparisons on which the threshold is based other than ‘it seems to be a good number’
3) The factor 0.6 that is used by SIDC already takes into account the conversion from Wolfer to Wolf
4) The notion that the modern counts by SIDC is too high [for political reasons] while, in fact, comparisons with hundreds of other [amateur] observers and even with the NOAA count show that the official SIDC count since ~2001 has been slightly [~12%] too low.
Jcarels says:
December 28, 2010 at 2:14 am
There already have been moments during SC24 when there where 6 active regions visible on the magnetograms.
The prediction is about the smoothed average number. The actual number visible on a given day will vary a lot from day to day, say from 0 to 15.

Don B
December 28, 2010 8:05 am

On September 5, 2010 I emailed NASA with a suggestion for their Solar Cycle Progression graph, that they maintain the red prediction line in place, rather than move it forward each month, so that viewers could compare the cycle with the latest projection more easily. (And, that they include a one standard deviation band of the predictions to show the range of opinions.)
http://www.swpc.noaa.gov/SolarCycle/
I was pleased to receive a prompt reply from a gentleman at customer support who wrote that he thought it a good suggestion, but that “due to resource constraints and other priorities, this one is not likely to happen any time soon.”
He helpfully added, “The cycle is tracking the original prediction very well, with maybe a slight lag of a few months.”

December 28, 2010 8:13 am

John from CA says:
December 28, 2010 at 7:19 am
I guess the obvious question is why do we need 2 solar prediction groups in different government agencies who don’t appear to be coordinating over their incorrect predictions?
We don’t have two ‘official’ groups. There is no NASA prediction. What people refer to as the NASA prediction is Hathaway’s own private prediction. His work on this is not even funded any more. For actual operational use, NASA relies on ‘our’ prediction [by ‘our’ I mean the one issued by Ken Schatten using the method we [Schatten, Scherrer, Svalgaard, Wilcox] suggested back in 1978.]

The insurance influence was, of course, rumor and speculation and should not be taken for more than that. As I said, I was there, and while there was pressure for a prediction that would follow recent ‘breakthrough’ research, that was it. One can argue that a prediction based on actual physics-based calculations should be better than the eyeballing many of the other predictions were, so it does make sense to place more weight on the Dikpati et al. calculations. BTW, I was a reviewer of their paper and recommended publication. My report is here http://www.leif.org/research/Dikpati%20Referee%20Report.pdf
My conclusion was: “With some well-chosen, clear, and simple clarifications the paper can be improved to the point where its publication would be justified as marking an early (and definite) prediction which should be able to either vindicate or refute the theory or the approach. “

David Corcoran
December 28, 2010 8:24 am

An interesting time to be a solar scientist, eh Leif?

Don B
December 28, 2010 8:25 am

Here is another Pielke, Jr article on Florida hurricanes and reinsurance rates. $82 billion dollars made it worth the effort to “tweak” the science.
http://thegwpf.org/science-news/1861-the-82-billion-prediction.html

John from CA
December 28, 2010 8:34 am

Leif Svalgaard says:
December 28, 2010 at 8:13 am
We don’t have two ‘official’ groups. There is no NASA prediction. What people refer to as the NASA prediction is Hathaway’s own private prediction. His work on this is not even funded any more. For actual operational use, NASA relies on ‘our’ prediction [by ‘our’ I mean the one issued by Ken Schatten using the method we [Schatten, Scherrer, Svalgaard, Wilcox] suggested back in 1978.]
=======
Thanks Lief,
I knew that had to be some reason for all the odd things on the NASA page which appears to use a smoothed International prediction instead of NOAA’s.
The NASA page also says Boulder (one can only hope this is not NOAA) is reporting daily numbers “typically about 35% higher than the International sunspot number”. What’s the point of inflating sunspot numbers beyond an International prediction?
If you click on the link at the base of the NASA prediction page (“Current values for F10.7 can be found at: http://www.spaceweather.ca/sx-4-eng.php “) it takes you to Space Weather Canada.
WUWT, Why is NASA/Marshall Space Flight Center steering viewers to Canada instead of NOAA for current Space Weather — especially since NASA isn’t even involved with solar prediction or responsible for the daily numbers?
Our tax dollars at work : (

Robuk
December 28, 2010 8:38 am

Robin Kool says:
December 28, 2010 at 6:14 am
• • Leif Svalgaard says:
December 27, 2010 at 9:00 pm
Robin Kool says:
December 27, 2010 at 8:52 pm
The Layman’s Sunspot count for November was 15.
The Layman’s Sunspot Count is junk, engineered to support an agenda.
=======================================================
The people who create the Layman’s Sunspot Number state that they want a number that is comparable with the numbers from the 1700s, when the sun was observed with very weak telescopes.
=====================================================
Leif states he compares today with these, very latest scopes of the 1850`s , the daulton ended around 1825, the scopes around that date were considerably inferior.
http://i446.photobucket.com/albums/qq187/bobclive/refractortelescope.jpg
http://i446.photobucket.com/albums/qq187/bobclive/Wolf-Telescope.png
He should compare with these,
http://i446.photobucket.com/albums/qq187/bobclive/galileonewton.jpg
The latter half of the 20th century was a period of increased solar activity unmatched since recording began. The peaks may have decreased somewhat in the last 20 years BUT were still far above the average of the last 400 year period, If you apply the heat steadily say from 1850 the temperature will rise, leave the heat on high say from 1940 and the temperature remains constant, I don`t think so.

John F. Hultquist
December 28, 2010 8:40 am

Leif,
Thanks for your participation and good will. And also thanks to others in good faith who think of and ask questions.
I always learn something.
Twenty-eleven is looking like an even more interesting time than was twenty-ten.
Thanks, everyone.

December 28, 2010 8:41 am

David Corcoran says:
December 28, 2010 at 8:24 am
An interesting time to be a solar scientist, eh Leif?
The most exciting thing is the possibility that Livingston might be correct. If he is, predictions of the sunspot number become useless or even meaningless as predictions of ‘solar activity’. F10.7 will probably still be good.

tucker
December 28, 2010 8:44 am

82.Leif Svalgaard says:
December 28, 2010 at 8:13 am
My conclusion was: “With some well-chosen, clear, and simple clarifications the paper can be improved to the point where its publication would be justified as marking an early (and definite) prediction which should be able to either vindicate or refute the theory or the approach. “
********************
I guess we know how this turned out already. I wish the AGW crowd would be so kind as to supply a hypothesis that can proved/disproved so readily.

Pamela Gray
December 28, 2010 8:44 am

I love the idea of publishing well-thought out hypotheses which come with good observations, data, and well articulated reasonable hypothesized mechanisms. Leif’s final comment on his review, “…its publication would be justified as marking an early (and definite) prediction which should be able to either vindicate or refute the theory or the approach.” is exactly the kind of blind justice all research should be subjected to during the peer review and publishing endeavor.
Well put, Leif.

Robuk
December 28, 2010 8:47 am

Leif Svalgaard says:
December 28, 2010 at 8:13 am
I was a reviewer of their paper and recommended publication. My report is here http://www.leif.org/research/Dikpati%20Referee%20Report.pdf
I thought peer reviewers were nameless.

December 28, 2010 9:03 am

At the time when Dr. Hathaway was making his prediction of a huge SC24, I emailed my formula and solicited his opinion.
http://www.vukcevic.talktalk.net/LFC11.htm
His view was that it was irrelevant.
Perhaps. A year or two later same formula was modified to
http://www.vukcevic.talktalk.net/LFC2.htm
giving even better correlation for polar fields used by Dr. Svalgaard, reffered to in Dr. Hathaway’s interview.
Not that I expect that either of two scientists would ever acknowledge it, if it was in the future accepted as credible.
An amateur has no chance, but then no risking career reputation either.

John from CA
December 28, 2010 9:45 am

vukcevic says:
December 28, 2010 at 9:03 am
“An amateur has no chance, but then no risking career reputation either.”
==========
Consider writing an article on WUWT vukcevic.
Fascinating topics, “Evidence of a multi-resonant system within solar periodic activity”, Geomagnetic field influences and temperature in the Arctic, Geomagnetic Equator, etc.

December 28, 2010 9:49 am

John from CA says:
December 28, 2010 at 8:34 am
The NASA page also says Boulder (one can only hope this is not NOAA) is reporting daily numbers “typically about 35% higher than the International sunspot number”. What’s the point of inflating sunspot numbers beyond an International prediction?
The NOAA people do it right. The problem is with the rest of the world 🙂
There should be no need to maintain the 0.6 conversion factor that is used to be compatible with Wolf. We should simply revert to the original idea: SSN = 10*Groups + Spots, all referred to the 8 cm x64 telescope and counting everything that we see. NOAA is not ‘inflating’ anything, just not ‘deflating. So if there are two groups with three spots, the SSN should simply by 10*2+3 = 23, and not 23*0.6 = 14 [which looks like one group with 4 spots].
Robuk says:
He should compare with these,
http://i446.photobucket.com/albums/qq187/bobclive/galileonewton.jpg

I know you are enamored by those old telescopes, but you miss the point completely [and seem to be resistant to learning]. We use ALL the data we can get our hands on from those early days, then try to harmonize, torture, adjust, revise, fake, guess, etc what they would have been compared to modern data [taken with an 8 cm refractor at magnification 64]
temperature remains constant, I don`t think so.
The temperature record has nothing to with calibrating the sunspot record.
Robuk says:
December 28, 2010 at 8:47 am
hought peer reviewers were nameless.
We all have names, and many journals will publish the name unless the reviewer explicitly requests to remain anonymous.
vukcevic says:
December 28, 2010 at 9:03 am
the time when Dr. Hathaway was making his prediction of a huge SC24, I emailed my formula and solicited his opinion.[…]
His view was that it was irrelevant.

And right he was. In addition your ‘predictions’ are already wrong: All cycles have the same length [10.86 years]. Cycle 20 was predicted to the very large and it was small, etc. Your ‘work’ is just numerology, even contradicts other people’s numerology.
[snip]
[Reply] Your point is made. No need for Ad hominem attacks. RT-mod

December 28, 2010 9:56 am

Leif Svalgaard says:
December 27, 2010 at 9:00 pm
Robin Kool says:
December 27, 2010 at 8:52 pm
The Layman’s Sunspot count for November was 15.
The Layman’s Sunspot Count is junk, engineered to support an agenda.
Leif, you had my respect but now no longer, Layman’s count is done scientifically,
not subjectively. It is to bad that you show your immaturity like this to every one here. you will see that nature follows god, and man follows nature and NOT the other way around.
Tim L

December 28, 2010 9:59 am

John from CA says:
December 28, 2010 at 9:45 am
Consider writing an article on WUWT vukcevic.
Fascinating topics, “Evidence of a multi-resonant system within solar periodic activity”, Geomagnetic field influences and temperature in the Arctic, Geomagnetic Equator, etc.

Thanks John from CA
But those are only tip of the ‘iceberg’; the large part below the surface is here:
http://www.vukcevic.talktalk.net/CET-NAP.htm
http://www.vukcevic.talktalk.net/NPG.htm
but need to be well written and documented.

December 28, 2010 10:04 am

jeremy says:
December 28, 2010 at 5:29 am
We really should stop arguing over predictions in science. This is a completely worthless activity and doesn’t advance knowledge any.
I disagree. Scientists should always make predictions & when they’re wrong they should be forced to abandon their poor hypotheses on threat of loss of funding & publication. & if they’re wrong often enough they should be given funding to predict where the 100% beef patty will land when turned with a stainless steel spatula 40cm long. $6.75/hr should be enough for that sort of research.

December 28, 2010 10:07 am

Leif Svalgaard says on December 28, 2010 at 8:13 am: The insurance influence was, of course, rumor and speculation and should not be taken for more than that. As I said, I was there, and while there was pressure for a prediction that would follow recent ‘breakthrough’ research, that was it.
Dear Leif,
Thank you for your retraction of your capitalist conspiracy theory. I am relieved to hear that moneyed interests and other wheeler dealers are not bending NASA science to fit their political agendas. [/sarc]
PS to Cassandra — joke status has already been achieved.

December 28, 2010 10:08 am

Tim L says:
December 28, 2010 at 9:56 am
Layman’s count is done scientifically, not subjectively.
I don’t know what ‘scientifically’ means there. The threshold was not based on any quantitative comparison, and the LSC is a ‘correction’ to the subjective official count.

December 28, 2010 10:20 am

December 27, 2010 at 7:42 pm
Landschiedt is still the better model even though many solar scientists don’t like the idea of planetary motion influencing the sun due to the massive mass difference.
I fully agree.

Dave
December 28, 2010 10:22 am

Great comments. If Layman’s nails another solar cycle and temperatures continue to fall it isn’t looking good for the man made warmers. Science is a beautiful thing. Didn’t Galileo say something like its a great time to be a denier?

John from CA
December 28, 2010 10:37 am

Leif Svalgaard says:
December 28, 2010 at 9:49 am
John from CA says:
December 28, 2010 at 8:34 am
The NASA page also says Boulder (one can only hope this is not NOAA) is reporting daily numbers “typically about 35% higher than the International sunspot number”. What’s the point of inflating sunspot numbers beyond an International prediction?
The NOAA people do it right. The problem is with the rest of the world 🙂
There should be no need to maintain the 0.6 conversion factor that is used to be compatible with Wolf. We should simply revert to the original idea: SSN = 10*Groups + Spots, all referred to the 8 cm x64 telescope and counting everything that we see. NOAA is not ‘inflating’ anything, just not ‘deflating. So if there are two groups with three spots, the SSN should simply by 10*2+3 = 23, and not 23*0.6 = 14 [which looks like one group with 4 spots].
========
Once again, Thank You for the insights!
In my opinion, NASA/Marshall Space Flight Center’s Solar Physics and NOAA need to jointly develop a single site for Space Weather and Solar Physics. NASA is clearly a budget hog and the fact that they aren’t more proactive in the face of NOAA’s responsibility for Solar Weather is disturbing.
If they can’t play in the same sandbox, NASA/Marshall Space Flight Center’s Solar Physics page should dump all predictions and inappropriate links.

December 28, 2010 10:44 am

Mike D. says:
December 28, 2010 at 10:07 am
I am relieved to hear that moneyed interests and other wheeler dealers are not bending NASA science to fit their political agendas.
Whatever they do or don’t do, the panel was not bent.

December 28, 2010 10:48 am

John from CA says:
December 28, 2010 at 10:37 am
If they can’t play in the same sandbox, NASA/Marshall Space Flight Center’s Solar Physics page should dump all predictions and inappropriate links.
That page does not reflect official NASA views, any more than my webpage reflect Stanford’s or SDO’s. The Hathaway page is David’s personal view and, as I said, not even funded anymore.

John from CA
December 28, 2010 10:55 am

Leif Svalgaard says:
December 28, 2010 at 10:48 am
John from CA says:
December 28, 2010 at 10:37 am
If they can’t play in the same sandbox, NASA/Marshall Space Flight Center’s Solar Physics page should dump all predictions and inappropriate links.
That page does not reflect official NASA views, any more than my webpage reflect Stanford’s or SDO’s. The Hathaway page is David’s personal view and, as I said, not even funded anymore.
=========
The NASA predictions page is served by a nasa.gov server with NASA’s logo at the top: http://solarscience.msfc.nasa.gov/predict.shtml
Maybe we’re talking about 2 different pages?

December 28, 2010 11:19 am

John from CA says:
December 28, 2010 at 10:55 am
Maybe we’re talking about 2 different pages?
No. The ‘we’ referred to on the page is Hathaway and Wilson, not NASA collectively. NASA is not in the prediction business. They pay contractors to do that [e.g. Ken Schatten]. NASA (Goddard) uses our model, to undertake the needed calculations, which do work, for its orbital planning — for example, they decided to refurbish the Hubble Space Telescope, rather than design a special multi-multi-million dollar mission to bring it down, since the Goddard Flight dynamics analysis branch figured out, that Hubble would “fly over” solar cycle 24 — (The cycle would be too weak, and thus the drag too small to bring it down in the next decade).. so, Hubble now has a lot more life to it.. because NASA believed in our prediction and kept Hubble up.

John from CA
December 28, 2010 11:48 am

Leif Svalgaard says:
December 28, 2010 at 10:48 am
John from CA says:
December 28, 2010 at 10:37 am
If they can’t play in the same sandbox, NASA/Marshall Space Flight Center’s Solar Physics page should dump all predictions and inappropriate links.
That page does not reflect official NASA views, any more than my webpage reflect Stanford’s or SDO’s. The Hathaway page is David’s personal view and, as I said, not even funded anymore.
=======
I took a closer look and found this on the Home page:
“The Solar Physics Group at NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center was formed in the early 1970’s in conjunction with the Apollo Skylab Mission. These pages contain an overview of solar physics itself along with highlights of our own work, our current projects, and possible future missions.”
I also found “Author: Dr. David H. Hathaway” listed on the bottom right corner of each webpage.
I also did a google search for “Dr. David H. Hathaway” and the first link to be listed was “David Hathaway’s Solar Cycle Prediction – NASA/Marshall Solar Physics”.
My mistake, I was thrown off by the title of this article: NASA’s Sunspot Prediction Roller Coaster which should be changed to David Hathaway’s Solar Cycle Prediction.

December 28, 2010 11:52 am

John from CA says:
December 28, 2010 at 9:45 am
…That would mean to send our friend Vukcevic to the tribunal of “Holy Inquisition”, with all its consequences. And that would be no joke.

December 28, 2010 11:59 am

Never a collective organization has made something that history has ever remembered. There are no exceptions to this rule. Once you submit your individual soul to any “egregore” you lose the capacity of a successful individual reasoning.

December 28, 2010 12:01 pm

John from CA says:
December 28, 2010 at 11:48 am
My mistake, I was thrown off by the title of this article: NASA’s Sunspot Prediction Roller Coaster which should be changed to David Hathaway’s Solar Cycle Prediction.
That is one way to resolve your conundrum 🙂

John from CA
December 28, 2010 12:12 pm

Leif (I should be saying Dr. Svalgaard),
Thanks for using the example.
Its a perfect example of forecasting that’s absolutely necessary for critical decision-making and long term planning.
Wow:
“Hubble now has a lot more life to it.. because NASA believed in our prediction and kept Hubble up.”

J.Gommers
December 28, 2010 12:18 pm

L.S says : prediction 72 for the ssn
Given the actual performance of cycle 24, solar flux and ssn, and the LP effect still holds a ssn of 10 over 4 years from now(below 5 is too erratic- LS) will generate low numbers for the max. of flux (90?) and ssn (30?) Other curve fittings will be peculiar.

ked5
December 28, 2010 12:38 pm

A typical sunspot exists for just a few weeks.
is that why specks that last less than a day are being counted?

December 28, 2010 1:36 pm

J.Gommers says:
December 28, 2010 at 12:18 pm
generate low numbers for the max. of flux (90?) and ssn (30?) Other curve fittings will be peculiar.
My predictions for flux is ~120 and for active regions ~6. What the sunspot number will be is anybody’s guess, but this is somewhat irrelevant because it is the magnetic field [and not whether a spot is visible] that determines the effects of solar activity.
ked5 says:
December 28, 2010 at 12:38 pm
A typical sunspot exists for just a few weeks.
Actually, most spots live only about a day. The active region may live a few weeks
is that why specks that last less than a day are being counted?
The rules [if you can use that term] depend on who is counting. NOAA requires the spot to live more than 12 hours and to be seen by more than one observer. The old Wolfer method [until 1980] stipulated that you only use ONE observation [usually in the 6-9 am time slot]. SIDC [since 1980] collects all the observations they get [typically ~65 per day]. People try to do the best they can. It is somewhat remarkable that the Wolf formula works so well, across observers and across time.

John from CA
December 28, 2010 1:44 pm

Ira,
Here are issues I’ve found with this post:
– Title: NASA’s Sunspot Prediction Roller Coaster. None of these predictions are from NASA.
– your graphic uses a NOAA graph with predictions from NASA (note these are not NASA predictions) but the article only supports predictions for 2006 and 2010.
– “The red hoop, peaking at 90, is left over from their previous prediction and should be replaced by their new prediction in January.” This implies Dikpati and Hathaway’s previous prediction? The red “hoop”on the NOAA graph represents NOAA/SWPC Solar Cycle 24 Prediction Panel consensus. Are Dikpati and Hathaway on NOAA’s Solar Cycle 24 Prediction Panel?
– “It is instructive to read NASA’s March 2006 predictions (and somewhat humorous until you realize we paid for it).” The predictions aren’t from NASA, the article was a NASA Science News release.
Please correct the article and graph. I’m all in favor of a black-eye for NASA when they deserve it but this isn’t “It”.
[Thanks for the corrections John. I mistakenly believed that NOAA was one of the divisions under NASA, or that they coordinated some kind of “official” Sunspot prediction. Clearly, I was wrong. I added a note to the original posting, just ahead of the graphic. (Perhaps its just me, but I thought anything with a NASA logo on a nasa.gov site was “from NASA”. On this NOAA page I find “The official NOAA, NASA, and ISES Solar Cycle 24 prediction was released by the Solar Cycle 24 Prediction Panel” indicating coordination of some sort.)]

Werner Brozek
December 28, 2010 1:45 pm

Thank you for the comments on tides!
Now for a different question. What do you think about the following sentence: “Scafetta tested this theory using the sun’s movement relative to the center of mass of the solar system (called the “barycenter”) as a proxy for all the known and unknown cycles involving natural oscillations of the solar system. He found “all alternating periods of warming and cooling since 1860 are very well reconstructed by the model.” He goes on to use the model to predict future climate change:”
It is found on page 21 under THEORY #6
Planetary Motion
at the site
http://scienceandpublicpolicy.org/images/stories/papers/reprint/seven_theories.pdf

December 28, 2010 2:04 pm

The mass is not so important. The important element is the distance: move Jupiter in to an orbit one tenth its present size, and its [tidal] effect will go up a thousand times, and the planetary influence will increase correspondingly.
Well, Leif, if the physics were that simple but they aren’t are they? Let’s not forget angular momentum and other factors that reinforce each other. Clearly, if the sun is moved a whole diameter out of it’s position within the solar system by the planets that orbit it, then obviously their influence upon the sun is more than trivial. Observation trumps theory every time. My original point being we don’t understand what really drives the sunspot cycle because if we really did then Hathway’s predictions wouldn’t be a series of extrapolation fallacies.

noaaprogrammer
December 28, 2010 2:12 pm

jeremy says:
December 28, 2010 at 5:29 am
“We really should stop arguing over predictions in science. This is a completely worthless activity and doesn’t advance knowledge any. If you want to be able to predict something, learn first. We’re putting the predictions ahead of the learning here, and it’s sad to watch.”
It is not a “completely worthless activity” if we learn what NOT to base our predictions upon.

Don Garber
December 28, 2010 2:41 pm

Isn’t NCAR sponsored by NSF rather than NASA?

1DandyTroll
December 28, 2010 3:03 pm

If the prediction contest is still open for additions I wish to add my humble, but very scientific, contribution to the pile of utter drivel and the not probable, but irrational, but irritatingly logical by the single fact that it is in fact a human number within the range of rational permutations at the same time not being a complete wild stab in the dark but in fact referenced in a book filled with all manner of scientific mumbo jumbo which subsequently got it translated to more languages even I can read.
42
(Ps If I should happen to win, I prefer my balloons to be of the yellowish color and they ought to be large enough to fit at least on squirmish hippie. Two seems to be asking for too much, and there’s always the safety regulations to adhere too…if there were any that is.)

December 28, 2010 3:05 pm

Leif Svalgaard says:
December 28, 2010 at 9:49 am
Cycle 20 was predicted to the very large and it was small, etc.
Not exactly , case of ignoring inconvenient (as on the previous occasions too)
http://www.vukcevic.talktalk.net/LFC4.htm
It clearly states ‘low cycle’
As in the original article:
http://xxx.lanl.gov/ftp/astro-ph/papers/0401/0401107.pdf
page 2, written in 2003, when Dr. Hathaway predicting ‘greatest ever cycle’ for SC24.

Robin Kool
December 28, 2010 3:10 pm

Leif Svalgaard says:
December 28, 2010 at 7:55 am
The purpose of the LSC is supposedly to get a sunspot number that Rudolf Wolf would have counted. Wolf did not [on purpose] count the smallest specks and pores. Later observers pointed out that the decision on what not to count was then very arbitrary [as there was no precise definition of what not to count]. A better method [and that is used by everybody since the 1880s] is to count everything you can see [with a given telescope]. Since different people have different acuity [and experience] they would still count differently, but that can be measured by comparing with others.
Wolf used a 8 cm aperture refractor at magnification 64 in the 1850s. This telescope still exists and is still being used. Wolf did not observe during the Dalton minimum [almost nobody did] and the sunspot number he reconstructed for that time is mainly based on counts of aurorae and simple interpolation between the very sparse actual observations.
From 1861 on, Wolf mostly used an even smaller telescope [handheld and portable – as he was often on travel]. He determined that he needed to multiply the counts with that smaller scope by 1.5 to match what he would count with the 8 cm ‘standard’ telescope. His assistant, Wolfer, was using the 8 cm in parallel with Wolf for 17 years and determined that to get to the same count as Wolf, he would have to multiply his own counts [which included everything] by 0.6. So now we have this convoluted scheme: Wolf counts 20 [say] with the small handheld scope, multiplies that by 1.5 getting 30 and claims that that is what he would have counted with the 8 cm. Wolfer using the 8 cm [counting everything] counts 50, then multiplies by 0.6: 50*0.6 = 30, as an estimate of what Wolf would have counted. With me so far?
The Wolfer count is the better method [as it is better defined], but Wolfer wanted to stay compatible with the old [already published] Wolf list, so the 0.6 factor has become the ‘conversion’ factor between the ‘all count’ and the Wolf count. Now, the LSC people think that the Wolf number ‘is under threat’ [by some conspiracy it seems] and want to restore the count to ‘what Wolf would have counted’. The reason for this seems to be the desire to show that we are entering a Dalton-type grand minimum, and the official count is claimed to be [nefariously] too high, so needs to be reduced to fulfill the prophesy. The way to reduce the official count is to remove groups that are too small [below a ‘threshold’] and subtract their contribution from the official SIDC sunspot number. So, here is what is wrong with the LSC:
1) Wolf did not observe during the Dalton minimum, so there are no ‘Wolf numbers’ to reproduce
2) The threshold [for throwing out groups] is uncalibrated. I.e. there were no comparisons on which the threshold is based other than ‘it seems to be a good number’
3) The factor 0.6 that is used by SIDC already takes into account the conversion from Wolfer to Wolf
4) The notion that the modern counts by SIDC is too high [for political reasons] while, in fact, comparisons with hundreds of other [amateur] observers and even with the NOAA count show that the official SIDC count since ~2001 has been slightly [~12%] too low.
================================
Leif. Thank you for taking the time to explain your position so clearly.
I see your point that if it is arbitrary where Layman – and earlier Wolf – makes the cut between which sunspots are counted and which not, that creates a serious problem.
But I also see Layman’s point that in a period with many little sunspots that Wolf would not have counted, the Wolfer number would be higher than Wolf’s and when there are mostly big sunspots, the Wolfer number would be lower.
If there are 10 tiny specks, Wolf would have given a sunspot number of 0, while Wolfer would count 10 times 0.6 = 6.
If there are 10 big sunspots, Wolf would have given a sunspot number of 10, and Wolfer again 10 times 0.6 = 6.
It seems to me that if we go back to the period when Wolfer came up with his conversion factor of 0.6, we could get a reasonably accurate idea of what Wolf counted and what not – supposing that Wolfer kept accurate records of how many big or small sunspots were that he saw.
Did he?
Concluding, I would say that the Wolfer sunspot number gives a consistent and trustable sequence of sunspot numbers from Wolfer onwards.
The Wolf number is an interesting addition to that, and helps extend the sequence, if it is possible to find a threshold that can be reasonably argued to correspond with Wolf’s.
In any case, you clear explanation makes Layman’s accusations of bad intentions behind the SIDC-numbers look silly. Thanks again.

December 28, 2010 3:35 pm

John from CA says:
December 28, 2010 at 1:44 pm
Are Dikpati and Hathaway on NOAA’s Solar Cycle 24 Prediction Panel?
Yes they were.
Werner Brozek says:
December 28, 2010 at 1:45 pm
What do you think about the following sentence: “Scafetta tested this theory using the sun’s movement relative to the center of mass of the solar system (called the “barycenter”)
Not much, see below
dscott says:
December 28, 2010 at 2:04 pm
Let’s not forget angular momentum and other factors that reinforce each other. Clearly, if the sun is moved a whole diameter out of it’s position within the solar system by the planets that orbit it, then obviously their influence upon the sun is more than trivial.
The angular momentum is conserved and there is no transfer mechanism between the orbital angular momentum and rotational momentum. Both theory and calculation show that. The Sun is in free fall and does not feel any gravitational forces. Same thing for an astronaut on a spacewalk. Think of a binary star. The barycenter is halfway between the two stars and each star orbit the barycenter with no ill effects. Or the Earth and the Moon, their barycenter is somewhere near the surface of the Earth moving through the Earth at something like 5 mph. We don’t feel a thing. We do feel the tides, as the Sun would.
My original point being we don’t understand what really drives the sunspot cycle because if we really did then Hathway’s predictions wouldn’t be a series of extrapolation fallacies.
This only means that Hathaway didn’t understand or that he employed the ‘wrong understanding’. There is no doubt that a dynamo drives the cycle, but to understand how the dynamo works we need to know the ‘boundary conditions’, that is the flows inside the Sun. And that we don’t know yet. There is a fair chance that SDO will provide some of the answers.

John from CA
December 28, 2010 3:50 pm

Don Garber says:
December 28, 2010 at 2:41 pm
Isn’t NCAR sponsored by NSF rather than NASA?
======
“The National Science Foundation is NCAR’s primary sponsor, with significant additional support provided by other U.S. government agencies, other national governments and the private sector.”

December 28, 2010 3:50 pm

vukcevic says:
December 28, 2010 at 3:05 pm
Cycle 20 was predicted to the very large and it was small, etc.
Not exactly , case of ignoring inconvenient (as on the previous occasions too)

That formula has no justification and was just ad-hoc to explain away any discrepancy.
If ever any of the formulae fails one can always add a new formula that takes care of the error, and so on ad infinitum.
Robin Kool says:
December 28, 2010 at 3:10 pm
I see your point that if it is arbitrary where Layman – and earlier Wolf – makes the cut between which sunspots are counted and which not, that creates a serious problem.
indeed
If there are 10 tiny specks, Wolf would have given a sunspot number of 0, while Wolfer would count 10 times 0.6 = 6.
The LSC is made to mimic Wolf.
supposing that Wolfer kept accurate records of how many big or small sunspots were that he saw. Did he?
No, not in that way. Now he worked closely with Wolf [was his assistant] and know precisely what Wolf was doing. wolfer states that the conversion factor did not vary with the sunspot number itself.
Concluding, I would say that the Wolfer sunspot number gives a consistent and trustable sequence of sunspot numbers from Wolfer onwards.
This is indeed the case.
The Wolf number is an interesting addition to that, and helps extend the sequence, if it is possible to find a threshold that can be reasonably argued to correspond with Wolf’s.
Wolfer observed in parallel with Wolf for 17 years and during that time the two series track each other well, when applying the conversion factor, so we are justified in accepting Wolf’s series as a fair representation of the Wolfer series. We have a completely independent and objective way of testing this: http://www.leif.org/research/AGU%20Fall%202010%20SH53B-03.pdf
In any case, you clear explanation makes Layman’s accusations of bad intentions behind the SIDC-numbers look silly.
In any case, trying to make a Wolf-version does not make sense when such a version is clearly inferior to a Wolfer-version. And even more so as the avowed reason for doing this is to compare modern counts with the sunspot number during the Dalton minimum, when Wolf was not even observing [he was born in 1816].

Carla
December 28, 2010 4:22 pm

Werner Brozek says:
December 28, 2010 at 1:45 pm
~
whoa whoa whoa, the 7 theories?
Try again, some astrophysicists are leaning in the direction of the interstellar material we are embedded (at any given epoch) as a cause-effect relationship to solar cycle variations. So.. you forgot one here.
If the interstellar material can magnetically distort the heliosphere and if speed, temp and density can push the heliospheres termination shock in past those super jovian planets you refer to .. then show me your planetary theory at work here. As for that trefoil thingy, looks more like gyration too me and makes perfect sense too as all stars must have some sort of gyration to orbit within a galaxy warped by gratitational waves. So the planets are mimicing ..
Man o man sure hope you guys got the telescope thingy done and over geeeeeesh..hmm starting to sound like one of those unhapply women.

John from CA
December 28, 2010 4:50 pm

Leif Svalgaard says:
December 28, 2010 at 3:35 pm
John from CA says:
December 28, 2010 at 1:44 pm
Are Dikpati and Hathaway on NOAA’s Solar Cycle 24 Prediction Panel?
Yes they were.
===========
It would be pretty funny if the consensus opinion of the Solar Cycle 24 Prediction Panel was Dikpati and Hathaway which would make the panel 3 people but I highly doubt its the case.
“Note, this is a consensus opinion, not a unanimous decision. A supermajority of the panel did agree to this prediction.”
Ira’s statement about the red “hoop” is still inaccurate. Is it April 1st Ira?
[Reply] Leif was the 3rd member of the panel. RT-mod

John from CA
December 28, 2010 5:13 pm

Enneagram says:
December 28, 2010 at 11:52 am
…That would mean to send our friend Vukcevic to the tribunal of “Holy Inquisition”, with all its consequences. And that would be no joke.
related to:
John from CA says:
December 28, 2010 at 9:45 am
=========
He has some very interesting observations. The geomagnetic equator showing symmetrical atmospheric patterns jumped out at me as a very odd occurrence.
“Holy Inquisition”, with all its consequences — maybe a scratches here and there but hardly consequential unless he rolls it into AGW dogma.

John from CA
December 28, 2010 5:17 pm

[Reply] Leif was the 3rd member of the panel. RT-mod
LOL, how can you have a “supermajority” consensus of opinion with three people on the panel? If its the case, they have a great sense of humor : )

December 28, 2010 5:31 pm

John from CA says:
December 28, 2010 at 4:50 pm
“Note, this is a consensus opinion, not a unanimous decision. A supermajority of the panel did agree to this prediction.”
[Reply] Leif was the 3rd member of the panel. RT-mod

There were ~12 members on the panel. One member did not agree to the low prediction.

DeNihilist
December 28, 2010 5:37 pm

Dr. Svalgaard, would i be correct in understanding, that just because we cannot see a sunspot, that it still may exist?

John from CA
December 28, 2010 5:55 pm

Leif Svalgaard says:
December 28, 2010 at 5:31 pm
[Reply] Leif was the 3rd member of the panel. RT-mod
There were ~12 members on the panel. One member did not agree to the low prediction.
=======
I’m guessing Ira and now RT-mod are playing one of Anthony’s How many things can you find wrong with this post games.

December 28, 2010 6:00 pm

DeNihilist says:
December 28, 2010 at 5:37 pm
Dr. Svalgaard, would i be correct in understanding, that just because we cannot see a sunspot, that it still may exist?
One can be a bit more precise. Once the magnetic field falls below 1500 Gauss the active region is so warm [stronger magnetic fields divert the heat flow from below away from the region] that there is no difference in temperature between the region and the surrounding photosphere and thus no contrast, making the region difficult to observe [‘invisible’] so we don’t see a sunspot in the region. But the region is still there.

December 28, 2010 6:44 pm

Ira Glickstein says:
December 28, 2010 at 6:30 pm
However, Leif, was there any influence from the 2006 zeitgeist and the excitement that climate models had been perfected and “the science was settled” that we were in for some potentially “tipping point” serous runaway warming. Could that have affected the prediction to drift to the high side?
There was great excitement about the new dynamo model, but it had nothing to do with climate science, tipping points, and other assorted nonsense. BTW, I think that warmists would not like a strong cycle which could strengthen the argument for natural causes, so such ‘influence’ would go the other way. To my knowledge there was no explicit influence of any kind outside of solar physics. It may be of interest that the first vote was 9 high, 2 low, so strong was the hope that perhaps the models finally had the problem licked. As time wore on and we examined the evidence [and the assumptions in the models] more closely, the pendulum swung inexorably the other way. A strong argument against a large cycle was actually given by Hathaway, namely that a strong cycle would be expected to come early and since cycle 24 was slow in coming it would not be strong…

John from CA
December 28, 2010 7:39 pm

“The base chart, as labeled is from NOAA but the predictions are from Dikpati and/or Hathaway at NASA, but later ones are personal, not official. Thanks John from CA and sorry for my ignorance of government organization. Ira]”
======
Hi Ira,
As Anthony is inclined to do, I thought you were intentionally posting some “assumptions” for us to unravel. Lots of flaws but the tone of the post is great fun.
A couple of points so NASA, NOAA, NCAR, NSSTC, and especially NOAA/Space Weather Prediction Center (SWPC) aren’t offended.
NCAR is not a US Government Agency and Dr. Mausumi Dikpati’s predictions and involvement on the SWPC Solar Cycle 24 Prediction Panel may been his own and not NCAR approved respectively.
Dr. David Hathaway’s solar predictions website (on a NASA server with NASA logos associated with all content) is his personal website and NOT NASA authorized content nor authorized NASA predictions.
As Dr. Svalgaard points out:
“We don’t have two ‘official’ groups. There is no NASA prediction. What people refer to as the NASA prediction is Hathaway’s own private prediction. His work on this is not even funded any more. For actual operational use, NASA relies on ‘our’ prediction [by ‘our’ I mean the one issued by Ken Schatten using the method we [Schatten, Scherrer, Svalgaard, Wilcox] suggested back in 1978.]”
NOAA/Space Weather Prediction Center (SWPC) was a panel of approximately 12 distinguished members. Dr. Dikpati and Dr. Hathaway were but 2 of the distinguished panel.
The post leans, in my opinion, too heavily on Dr. Dikpati and Dr. Hathaway predictions and makes assumes in the face of Dr. Svalgaard’s last statement:
“There were ~12 members on the panel. One member did not agree to the low prediction.”
The time frames you’re presenting don’t do the Agencies, Organizations, the distinguished members of the SWPC panel, nor the topic true justice.

December 28, 2010 7:57 pm

John from CA says:
December 28, 2010 at 7:39 pm
Dr. Mausumi Dikpati’s predictions and involvement on the SWPC Solar Cycle 24 Prediction Panel may been his own and not NCAR approved respectively.
Her own

Brian H
December 28, 2010 8:04 pm

“The important element is the distance: move Jupiter in to an orbit one tenth its present size, and its [tidal] effect will go up a thousand times,”
Heh. As I noted, that would put Jupiter inside the orbit of Venus (which probably wouldn’t last very long!), and actually reverse the sign (direction) of the gravitational/tidal influence. I rather expect it would also induce Earth to do a flyby of Jupiter on its way into the Sun.
😉

December 28, 2010 8:42 pm

Brian H says:
December 28, 2010 at 8:04 pm
Heh. As I noted, that would put Jupiter inside the orbit of Venus
Amazing what one can get away with in a thought experiment.

DeNihilist
December 28, 2010 9:01 pm

Dr. Svalgaard says – {One can be a bit more precise. Once the magnetic field falls below 1500 Gauss the active region is so warm [stronger magnetic fields divert the heat flow from below away from the region] that there is no difference in temperature between the region and the surrounding photosphere and thus no contrast, making the region difficult to observe [‘invisible’] so we don’t see a sunspot in the region. But the region is still there.}
So then my next question would be, during a minimum like the Dalton, then the actual phenomena could still be happening, but just unobservable?
Again, thanx for taking the time to answer our questions, I really appreciate it.

Glenn
December 28, 2010 9:10 pm

Leif Svalgaard says:
December 28, 2010 at 8:13 am
“For actual operational use, NASA relies on ‘our’ prediction”
What does “operational use” mean?

December 28, 2010 9:29 pm

Glenn says:
December 28, 2010 at 9:10 pm
What does “operational use” mean?
As I explained earlier:
NASA (Goddard) uses our model, to undertake the calculations for its orbital planning — for example, they decided to refurbish the Hubble Space Telescope, rather than design a special multi-multi-million dollar mission to bring it down, since the Goddard Flight dynamics analysis branch figured out, that Hubble would “fly over” solar cycle 24 — Our prediction said that the cycle would be weak, and thus the drag too small to bring it down in the next decade) so, Hubble now has a lot more life to it, because NASA believed in our prediction and kept Hubble up.
DeNihilist says:
December 28, 2010 at 9:01 pm
So then my next question would be, during a minimum like the Dalton, then the actual phenomena could still be happening, but just unobservable?
Since IMHO the Dalton was not a true Grand Minimum, the L&P effect probably did not happen then [as sunspots were observed]. During the Maunder Minimum I speculate that L&P effect must have been present. Now all this is very speculative. We don’t know if L&P will continue the next 50 years [to make for a Grand Minimum – the Eddy Minimum] or is it will fizzle and things will revert to ‘normal’, making the coming cycle(s) weak, but not exceptionally so.

rbateman
December 28, 2010 10:12 pm

If this whole thread is about the SC24 Max, then let’s talk about where that lies.
I’m not too thrilled about the chances of it breaking 50.
42 is fine, as Carsten said, but even that may be optimistic.
The Sun is not doing so well, 2 years into the cycle, and what’s the matter with SDO?

rbateman
December 28, 2010 10:15 pm

DeNihilist says:
December 28, 2010 at 9:01 pm
The EUV footpring of such failing/failed sunspots is also very subdued.
Those AR’s (as seen in the SDO composites) are probably the last thing we will be able to see when the L&P kicks in full.
btw… what the devil is taking SDO so long to get their images back online?

Zeke the Sneak
December 28, 2010 10:29 pm

Leif Svalgaard says:
December 28, 2010 at 7:57 pm
John from CA says:
December 28, 2010 at 7:39 pm
Dr. Mausumi Dikpati’s predictions and involvement on the SWPC Solar Cycle 24 Prediction Panel may been his own and not NCAR approved respectively.
Her own
Dr S is exactly right. Would you mind watching those gender benders please.

John from CA
December 28, 2010 10:30 pm

Leif Svalgaard says:
December 28, 2010 at 7:57 pm
John from CA says:
December 28, 2010 at 7:39 pm
Dr. Mausumi Dikpati’s predictions and involvement on the SWPC Solar Cycle 24 Prediction Panel may been his own and not NCAR approved respectively.
Her own
=======
Dr. Svalgaard,
I should have done proper research.
Respectfully,
John from CA

December 28, 2010 11:36 pm

rbateman says:
December 28, 2010 at 10:15 pm
btw… what the devil is taking SDO so long to get their images back online?
Still having disk problems. Lesson: if you scale up a complex system, you also scale up its errors.
If L&P are correct, the sunspot number is meaningless, so we need to predict and watch F10.7.

December 29, 2010 12:31 am

Jcarels says:
December 28, 2010 at 6:45 am
The layman sunspot people want to count sunspots like in the 1700 that’s why they use today’s SOHO and SDO images…
Besides that they never observed the sun with a telescope of that time for a long period of time. How do they that their comparison holds up? They even never looked at the sun through an telescope of that time!
An recent telescope has different glass types and coatings than the old ones. If they want to do it properly they have to use an original telescope of that time.

That is why a threshold is in place, it reduces the SOHO and SDO views closer to what Wolf would have seen as well as removing the Waldmeier step.

December 29, 2010 1:04 am

Leif Svalgaard says:
December 28, 2010 at 7:55 am
It amazes me the length Leif will go to to spread his propaganda. When cornered he spurts out wads of information and data that is a smokescreen designed to cover reality.
Leif’s own paper states very clearly that the modern count is 22% higher than the Wolfer values. So he cannot say we are comparing apples. There are 3 points that he cannot argue against.
1. Waldmeier introduced a large step in the counting process in 1945 that has not been accounted for.
2. The modern 150mm telescope picks up smaller specks than the Wolf 80mm telescope.
3. Wolfer when applying his .6 factor did not compare cycles that were part of a grand minimum. The extra speck ratio that Leif attributes to L&P (whatever that is?) is not allowed for in the factor.
Wolf reconstructed SC5/6 from older records and then matched against proxy records. The sunspot group count and all proxy records agree with the outcome. Also Sc6 had plenty of observers. We have no way of knowing Wolf’s exact threshold size but I think the LSC is very close.
No reproduction can be perfect but the LSC is definitely closer to the Wolf method than the modern mess that we have today.
Some advice for readers. Don’t believe everything Leif says….he has an agenda.

STEPHEN PARKERuk
December 29, 2010 1:13 am

Thanks leif, for putting up with us!

Ralph
December 29, 2010 2:01 am

Leif.
You say that the Maunder and Dalton minimums were dot documented, and cite Wolf. But he was not the only authority of this age. What about Shroeter, Winthrop and the Royal Society counts?
I must look into this more closely, because I thought that there were many references to sunspot numbers in this era. Here is a lithograph of sunspots, from the 1760s.
http://www.sciencephoto.com/images/download_lo_res.html?id=867000369
Looks quite accurate to me. If there are a series of these lithographs, you have all the information you need.
.

Ralph
December 29, 2010 4:06 am

This is a quote from the High Altitude Observatory site – the history of solar science.
Sunspots observations continued in the seventeenth century, with the most active observers being the German Johannes Hevelius (1611-1687) and the French Jesuit Jean Picard (1620-1682). Very few sunspots were observed from about 1645 to 1715, and when they were their presence was noted as a noteworthy event by active astronomers. At that time, a systematic solar observing program was underway under the direction of Jean Dominique Cassini (1625-1712) at the newly founded Observatoire de Paris, with first Picard and later Philippe La Hire carrying out the bulk of the observations. Historical reconstructions of sunspot numbers indicate that the dearth of sunspots is real, rather than the consequence of a lack of diligent observers. A simultaneous decrease in auroral counts further suggest that solar activity was greatly reduced during this time period
http://www.hao.ucar.edu/education/TimelineC.php
Note that there were many observers, including Rene Descartes, in the early part of the century, but few sunspots were observed. This did not cause a sensation, of course, because it was not recognised that this was unusual.
The Royal Society was doing similar solar research, and I will try to get some info on this too.
.

Carla
December 29, 2010 4:30 am

rbateman says:
December 28, 2010 at 10:12 pm
If this whole thread is about the SC24 Max, then let’s talk about where that lies.
I’m not too thrilled about the chances of it breaking 50.
42 is fine, as Carsten said, but even that may be optimistic.
The Sun is not doing so well, 2 years into the cycle, and what’s the matter with SDO?
~
Thanks Rob for that layman opinion.
Check the NICT movie for yesterday 12.28.2010.
Been looking for a reason for the major density increases all of sudden. No coronal hole wind stream, not a flopping of the IMF according to GSE plots, no CME. So whats the deal, could be the helium gravitation focusing cone. (solar exhaust pipe). Of course more than helium there, too. If you check out the movie, watch that dayside.. wowee. Where did that stuff all go go go..
http://www2.nict.go.jp/y/y223/simulation/realtime/movie.html

December 29, 2010 5:03 am

Geoff Sharp says:
December 29, 2010 at 1:04 am
We have no way of knowing Wolf’s exact threshold size but I think the LSC is very close.
You ‘think’ that LSC is very close. This is the problem: you have no evidence for that, no calibration, no comparison. Your threshold is taken out of the blue.
No reproduction can be perfect but the LSC is definitely closer to the Wolf method than the modern mess that we have today.
The Wolf method is inferior to how spots have been counted since the 1880s. The original 80 mm telescope is still in use. Waldmeier’s step is easily accounted for as I show. Wolf did not observe during the Dalton so there is nothing to compare with.
Some advice for readers. Don’t believe everything Leif says….he has an agenda.
Indeed I do: to get an accurate representation of solar activity the past 400 years.
Ralph says:
December 29, 2010 at 2:01 am
You say that the Maunder and Dalton minimums were not[?] documented
No, I don’t say that. I said that the Maunder Minimum where almost no spots were visible could be called a Grand Minimum in that respect, and that I do not consider the Dalton minimum to be a Grand Minimum, just a period with low activity.

December 29, 2010 5:53 am

Leif Svalgaard says:
December 29, 2010 at 5:03 am
You ‘think’ that LSC is very close. This is the problem: you have no evidence for that, no calibration, no comparison. Your threshold is taken out of the blue.
There is no calibration possible, but we have a good idea on what was viewable in the early 1800’s according to his viewing position. This is an area of weakness for you.
No reproduction can be perfect but the LSC is definitely closer to the Wolf method than the modern mess that we have today.
—————————
The Wolf method is inferior to how spots have been counted since the 1880s. The original 80 mm telescope is still in use. Waldmeier’s step is easily accounted for as I show. Wolf did not observe during the Dalton so there is nothing to compare with.

More hand waving, the original telescope is a museum piece and not used for many years. The Wolf method might be inferior to you, but that was the method of the times…we need to compare with that method. The Waldmeier step has not been accounted for, as shown in your paper. You are not a man of science.
Wolf did a reconstruction that agrees with your principles, which you use to bolster your claim that the older counts are too low. You are on very shakey ground.

Robuk
December 29, 2010 6:07 am

Leif Svalgaard says:
December 28, 2010 at 9:49 am
Robuk says:
He should compare with these,
http://i446.photobucket.com/albums/qq187/bobclive/galileonewton.jpg
I know you are enamored by those old telescopes, but you miss the point completely [and seem to be resistant to learning]. We use ALL the data we can get our hands on from those early days, then try to harmonize, torture, adjust, revise, fake, guess, etc what they would have been compared to modern data [taken with an 8 cm refractor at magnification 64]
I don`t love the old scopes, my point is that if only large sunspots could be seen in the Maunda min, you could only compare the lack of large sunspots with the fall in temperature at that time, they may have been hundreds of smaller spots that could not be seen then which are counted today, it doesn`t matter, that number is irrelevant, its the number of large spots counted at that time compared to temperature then not the number of all the spots. There is no need to harmonize, torture, adjust, revise or fake it, you have the early Maunda telescopes and ample early data to compare with. Use todays powerfull telescopes and do your science but don`t compare these numbers with the past, they are not the same.
Is it so difficult to do a side by side real world comparison with the old (as above) and the modern scopes, and I don`t mean compare with an 1850`s scope.
You don`t want to do simple because you can`t fiddle simple.

December 29, 2010 6:15 am

Leif Svalgaard says:
December 29, 2010 at 5:03 am
Ralph says:
December 29, 2010 at 2:01 am
You say that the Maunder and Dalton minimums were not[?] documented
No, I don’t say that. I said that the Maunder Minimum where almost no spots were visible could be called a Grand Minimum in that respect, and that I do not consider the Dalton minimum to be a Grand Minimum, just a period with low activity.

You are ducking the question. Your view on what constitutes a grand minimum is clouded. If we have to wait for a Maunder of Sporer type minimum to be called grand minimum, we will only see the absolute minimums of solar activity. There are different shades between black and white. The Sun has very regular periods of downturn, each one with a different modulation. A solar scientist should recognize this.

December 29, 2010 6:22 am

Geoff Sharp says:
December 29, 2010 at 5:53 am
There is no calibration possible
Indeed, not your way.
the original telescope is a museum piece and not used for many years.
The original telescope has been in continuous use since 1856 to this day.
The Wolf method might be inferior to you, but that was the method of the times…
No, it was not the method during the Dalton minimum as it was not invented yet. It was the method 1849-1893.
The Waldmeier step has not been accounted for, as shown in your paper. You are not a man of science.
The step is accounted for by raising all counts before 1945 by 20%. [or reducing all counts after 1945 by 20% – the latter not being practical as some modern operational programs use the modern SSNs]
Wolf did a reconstruction that agrees with your principles, which you use to bolster your claim that the older counts are too low.
this statement makes no sense. If you look at slide 8 of http://www.leif.org/research/AGU%20Fall%202010%20SH53B-03.pdf you’ll see that Wolf in his lists of 1861 and 1874 had SC5 to be 75% higher than in his 1882 list [which we basically still use].

December 29, 2010 6:50 am

Robuk says:
December 29, 2010 at 6:07 am
Use todays powerful telescopes and do your science but don`t compare these numbers with the past, they are not the same.
The sunspot number today is not based on modern powerful telescopes but on a telescope from 1856. You seem to saying that during the Maunder Minimum there were a lot of spots, but that they were not counted because of inferior telescopes. I disagree with that, they were not counted because they were very hard to see [with any telescope, even with modern instruments as may be happening again].

December 29, 2010 6:55 am

Geoff Sharp says:
December 29, 2010 at 6:15 am
If we have to wait for a Maunder of Sporer type minimum to be called grand minimum, we will only see the absolute minimums of solar activity.
Indeed, only such absolute mimima should be called ‘Grand Minima’
There are different shades between black and white. The Sun has very regular periods of downturn, each one with a different modulation.
Sure, one now, one 100 years ago, another one 100 years before that. We don’t call such regular periods of downturns Grand Minima [or at least we shouldn’t].

December 29, 2010 7:12 am

Leif Svalgaard says:
December 29, 2010 at 6:22 am
The original telescope has been in continuous use since 1856 to this day.
More hand waving. the original telescope has not been used in official counting since 1981. Get a grip.
The Wolf method might be inferior to you, but that was the method of the times…
——————–
No, it was not the method during the Dalton minimum as it was not invented yet. It was the method 1849-1893.

It was still the method, reconstructed using his principles that have withstood the test of time. Wold got it right…remember?
The Waldmeier step has not been accounted for, as shown in your paper. You are not a man of science.
———————————————
The step is accounted for by raising all counts before 1945 by 20%. [or reducing all counts after 1945 by 20% – the latter not being practical as some modern operational programs use the modern SSNs]

Come on Leif…that is pathetic. The count has not been adjusted yet. The Waldmeier factor is still present in the modern count as you know. This is like debating with a school boy.
Wolf did a reconstruction that agrees with your principles, which you use to bolster your claim that the older counts are too low.
——-
this statement makes no sense. If you look at slide 8 of http://www.leif.org/research/AGU%20Fall%202010%20SH53B-03.pdf you’ll see that Wolf in his lists of 1861 and 1874 had SC5 to be 75% higher than in his 1882 list [which we basically still use].

He did revisions, just as you have done. The group sunspot number and proxy records agree with his revisions.

December 29, 2010 7:27 am

Leif Svalgaard says:
December 29, 2010 at 6:50 am
The sunspot number today is not based on modern powerful telescopes but on a telescope from 1856.
Totally wrong again. That may have been the starting point, but the modern 150mm telescopes see much more. How many times do I have to repeat this. We can debate this in mathematical terms of aperture size if you would like?

December 29, 2010 7:32 am

Question to Leif and Geoff:
What was Landscheidt’s calculated maximum for solar cycle 24 and 25. For whatever reason I can’t seem to pull up the graph or number and the papers that do list all the SC24 predictions omit Landscheidt.
Yes, I know Leif you don’t believe Angular Momentum has nothing to do with sunspot activity, however, IF there is a correlation then in the interest of science and knowledge we should gain an understanding as to why. Yes, correlation is not causation, but it may point us in the direction where we need to further study.

December 29, 2010 7:40 am

Leif Svalgaard says:
December 29, 2010 at 6:55 am
Sure, one now, one 100 years ago, another one 100 years before that. We don’t call such regular periods of downturns Grand Minima [or at least we shouldn’t].
This comment shows your lack of understanding of solar modulation.

December 29, 2010 7:47 am

Geoff Sharp says:
December 29, 2010 at 7:12 am
“The original telescope has been in continuous use since 1856 to this day.”
The original telescope has not been used in official counting since 1981.

Irrelevant, as it is still being used. And agrees well with the official count until ~2001, after which the official SIDC count is a bit too low.
It was still the method, reconstructed using his principles that have withstood the test of time. Wolf got it right…remember?
No, it was superseded in 1894 and has not been used since. What Wolf got right, was to calibrate against the geomagnetic data. This has nothing to do with how the spots are counted, but will work with any method.
The count has not been adjusted yet. The Waldmeier factor is still present in the modern count as you know.
I have adjusted for it. And the Waldmeier jump has nothing to do with Wolf. If you want to correct for it, simply reduce the official count be 20%.
He did revisions, just as you have done. The group sunspot number and proxy records agree with his revisions.
He revised SC5 down by 75% in 1882. And the GSN does not agree with Wolf at all as I show on slides 9-12 of http://www.leif.org/research/AGU%20Fall%202010%20SH53B-03.pdf
—-
But, none of this detracts from the LSC being junk. We don’t really care what Wolf might or might not have counted had he done that during the Dalton minimum [which he didn’t]. We don’t really want or need to reintroduce Wolf’s inferior method. We care about what solar activity actually was during that time. Since the LSC has no calibration, it cannot be used for that, in addition to the fact that Wolf did not observe.
Now, counting sunspots and measuring areas are a lot of fun. Hundreds of people all over the world do this correctly.

Ralph
December 29, 2010 7:49 am

Maunder Minimum – a real event.
Thanks for the clarification, Leif.
Regards evidence for the Maunder Minimum, I refer anyone to JR Eddy, Science, 1976 vol 192-4245.
Eddy makes a good case for the Maunder Minimum being real, and not due to a lack of observations. He thinks Wolf’s ignoring this era was due to his desire to show the sunspot cycle as being a historical reality, and yet the 1645 to 1715 era showed little activity. Indeed, between 1672 and 1704, there were no recorded sunspots, and Wolf, like Herschel, may have thought that much of this was due to a lack of observations.
However, Eddy quotes Maunder himself saying:
“… at Paris, Msr Cassini has detected a spot of the sun again, of which none have been seen these many years that we know of.”
And Cassini saying:
“… it is now 20 years since astronomers have seen considerable spots of the sun.”
“… Picard was pleased at the discovery of a spot, since it was ten whole years since he had seen one, no matter how great the care he had taken to see one.”
Herschel debated if this lack of sunspots was due to poor instrumentation. But as Eddy points out, the astronomers of the day discovered the moons of Saturn and described many solar transits of Mercury and Venus, plus many other solar activities – so this was not due to a lack of instrumentation or observing.
Eddy also points out the quality of the astronomers in the mid to late 1600s, who included: Flamstead, Derham, Hooke, Haley, Huyghens, Hevelin, Romer, Cassini, Gassendi, Hive, Boullian, Picard, Grimaldi, Riccioli, Weyel, Wurzelban and Schreiner.
The conclusion is that the Maunder Minimum was a real event, and that the sunspot numbers dropped to a very low minimum for 70 years, between 1645 and 1715, and to absolute zero for 30 of those years.
.

December 29, 2010 7:55 am

dscott says:
December 29, 2010 at 7:32 am
Question to Leif and Geoff:
What was Landscheidt’s calculated maximum for solar cycle 24 and 25. For whatever reason I can’t seem to pull up the graph or number and the papers that do list all the SC24 predictions omit Landscheidt.

Yes, I know Leif you don’t believe Angular Momentum has nothing to do with sunspot activity, however, IF there is a correlation then in the interest of science and knowledge we should gain an understanding as to why. Yes, correlation is not causation, but it may point us in the direction where we need to further study.
Not a good question for Leif, but Dr. Landscheidt was predicting some slowing down of solar activity now but the ultimate low being in 2030. Today we have much more detail that works on his basic principle that suggests the solar slowdown is happening now but will be recovering in 2030.

December 29, 2010 8:14 am

Geoff Sharp says:
December 29, 2010 at 7:27 am
“The sunspot number today is not based on modern powerful telescopes but on a telescope from 1856.”
Totally wrong again. That may have been the starting point, but the modern 150mm telescopes see much more. How many times do I have to repeat this. We can debate this in mathematical terms of aperture size if you would like?

Irrelevant, as the actual modern counts match very well what is observed with the original 80 mm telescope: http://www.leif.org/research/Keller-SIDC.png
and http://www.leif.org/research/Keller-SIDC-2.png
If anything, SIDC is a bit on the low side since ~2001. Hopefully that will be fixed soon.
As Frederic Clette tried to make you understand it is not every darkening that qualifies as a sunspot. There is a minimum size that has to be reached. Observers understand this.
dscott says:
December 29, 2010 at 7:32 am
I know Leif you don’t believe Angular Momentum has nothing to do with sunspot activity
No scientist believes that
IF there is a correlation
Unfortunately, no such correlation has been demonstrated and accepted [although the are lots of claims]
Geoff Sharp says:
December 29, 2010 at 7:40 am
This comment shows your lack of understanding of solar modulation.
Understanding derives from observation, not wishful thinking
Ralph says:
December 29, 2010 at 7:49 am
The conclusion is that the Maunder Minimum was a real event, and that the sunspot numbers dropped to a very low minimum for 70 years, between 1645 and 1715, and to absolute zero for 30 of those years.
You are barking up the wrong tree. Nobody disputes that the Maunder Minimum was real, so why do you keep pointing this out.

December 29, 2010 8:21 am

Leif Svalgaard says:
December 29, 2010 at 7:47 am
Geoff Sharp says:
December 29, 2010 at 7:12 am
The original telescope has not been used in official counting since 1981.
——————-
Irrelevant, as it is still being used. And agrees well with the official count until ~2001, after which the official SIDC count is a bit too low.

Rubbish…show me the official sunspot drawings from today’s “Wolf telescope”
It was still the method, reconstructed using his principles that have withstood the test of time. Wolf got it right…remember?
——-
No, it was superseded in 1894 and has not been used since. What Wolf got right, was to calibrate against the geomagnetic data. This has nothing to do with how the spots are counted, but will work with any method.

He used the same method to calibrate the Dalton Minimum, get over it.
The count has not been adjusted yet. The Waldmeier factor is still present in the modern count as you know.
——–
I have adjusted for it. And the Waldmeier jump has nothing to do with Wolf. If you want to correct for it, simply reduce the official count be 20%.

Ok , so your adjustment in your mind has fixed the official record. The official record does not reflect your delusions.
He did revisions, just as you have done. The group sunspot number and proxy records agree with his revisions.
———————————
He revised SC5 down by 75% in 1882. And the GSN does not agree with Wolf at all as I show on slides 9-12 of http://www.leif.org/research/AGU%20Fall%202010%20SH53B-03.pdf

Cant see much on your slides?
—-
But, none of this detracts from the LSC being junk. We don’t really care what Wolf might or might not have counted had he done that during the Dalton minimum [which he didn’t]. We don’t really want or need to reintroduce Wolf’s inferior method. We care about what solar activity actually was during that time. Since the LSC has no calibration, it cannot be used for that, in addition to the fact that Wolf did not observe.
Now, counting sunspots and measuring areas are a lot of fun. Hundreds of people all over the world do this correctly.

You can have your fun Leif, but some of are interested in counting sunspots as they were counted/reconstructed as per Wolf during the Dalton Minimum.

Robuk
December 29, 2010 8:35 am

15th May 1995.
These valuable and previously neglected, observations provide additional daily information during the later portions of the Maunda minimum, combined with daily observations by Picard, La hire, Eimmart and others, information on more than 200 days per year during much of the Maunda Minimum is now available, It indicates the probability of failing to observe sunspots during these years is SMALL.
http://www.springerlink.com/content/g621x2918n7l05q6/fulltext.pdf

R. de Haan
December 29, 2010 8:54 am

Forecasters keep eye on looming ‘Solar Max’ (They must be kidding)
http://www.breitbart.com/article.php?id=CNG.bdf9ddce1297325e1b97e06696026e73.111&show_article=1

December 29, 2010 8:59 am

Geoff Sharp says:
December 29, 2010 at 8:21 am
Rubbish…show me the official sunspot drawings from today’s “Wolf telescope”
First, no quotes need. It is the original telescope.
Second, Wolf, Wolfer, Brunner, Waldmeier, and Keller/Friedli did not make drawings for the determination of the SSN. The count is [and must be for compatibility reasons] be made visually [not even projected onto a screen] looking through the telescope [image dimmed by a polarizer]
He used the same method to calibrate the Dalton Minimum
He calibrated other peoples data against the geomagnetic and auroral data, nothing to do with threshold or specks. Accept it.
Ok , so your adjustment in your mind has fixed the official record. The official record does not reflect your delusions.
I adjust the same way as Wolf did. The official record will be updated in due course.
Cant see much on your slides?
Try to look at them. Slice 8 should be simple enough. Look at SC5 in the upper panel. In the lower I have placed an oval on SC5 for your convenience.
You can have your fun Leif, but some of are interested in counting sunspots as they were counted/reconstructed as per Wolf during the Dalton Minimum.
So are we all as well [so it can be adjusted properly], but the LSC does not accomplish that because it is uncalibrated, simple as that.

December 29, 2010 9:01 am

Robuk says:
December 29, 2010 at 8:35 am
It indicates the probability of failing to observe sunspots during these years is SMALL.
Nobody failed to see sunspots during these years [this is accepted by everybody], so I’m at a loss why you keep harping on it.

December 29, 2010 9:14 am

R. de Haan says:
December 29, 2010 at 8:54 am
Forecasters keep eye on looming ‘Solar Max’ (They must be kidding)
The usual hype, but there is evidence that very violent solar storms often happen as low solar activity. From http://www.leif.org/research/Cycle%2024%20Smallest%20100%20years.pdf
“Average space weather might be ‘‘milder’’ with decreased solar activity, but the extreme events that dominate technological effects are not expected to disappear. In fact, they may become more common. Two of the eight strongest storms in the last 150 years occurred during solar cycle 14 (Rmax = 64) [Cliver and Svalgaard, 2004], while three of the five largest 30 MeV solar energetic proton events since 1859 [McCracken et al., 2001] occurred during cycle 13 (Rmax = 88).”

tallbloke
December 29, 2010 9:16 am

Leif Svalgaard says:
December 29, 2010 at 8:59 am
Geoff Sharp says:
December 29, 2010 at 8:21 am
He used the same method to calibrate the Dalton Minimum
He calibrated other peoples data against the geomagnetic and auroral data, nothing to do with threshold or specks. Accept it.

What geomagnetic data? You told me yesterday on the Trenberth thread that there are no geomagnetic data for the 1804-1817 period.

December 29, 2010 9:23 am

tallbloke says:
December 29, 2010 at 9:16 am
“He calibrated other peoples data against the geomagnetic and auroral data, nothing to do with threshold or specks. Accept it.”
What geomagnetic data? You told me yesterday on the Trenberth thread that there are no geomagnetic data for the 1804-1817 period.

The Dalton minimum was more than just 1806-1817. For that interval he used auroral counts which were calibrated against before and after geomagnetic records. An additional point is that the data is so sparse that our knowledge of what activity actually was is very poor [I estimate can be off by 50% either way].

tallbloke
December 29, 2010 9:34 am

Leif Svalgaard says:
December 29, 2010 at 9:23 am
The Dalton minimum was more than just 1806-1817. For that interval he used auroral counts which were calibrated against before and after geomagnetic records. An additional point is that the data is so sparse that our knowledge of what activity actually was is very poor [I estimate can be off by 50% either way].

Thanks for the clarification. If activity was low, then presumably the auroras that were seen must have been well to the north. Who recorded them from where? Scandinavia?

December 29, 2010 9:53 am

tallbloke says:
December 29, 2010 at 9:34 am
Who recorded them from where? Scandinavia?
Sweden
Ira Glickstein says:
December 29, 2010 at 9:42 am
Great cross-discussion between Leif and Geoff. As a layman I have no basis to judge who is correct, except that Leif seems more courteous, which I appreciate.
Which counting method is “right” is less important than the accuracy of the relative magnitudes of historical and current Solar Cycle counts. In particular, I would like your expert opinions of David Archibald’s Figure 9, analogizing SC3, SC4, SC5 and SC6 (1777 thru 1821, prior to and during the Dalton minimum) to SC22 and SC23 and, by implication predicting that SC 24 and SC25 may peak at around 50, which is what triggered me to start this topic thread.
Our knowledge of SC5 is very poor and uncertain [perhaps up to 50% off], so no good conclusions can be drawn. And, you are correct in stating that the relative magnitudes are what is important. The sunspot counts before 1877 [by Wolf and others] are not suited on their own to provide good relative magnitudes. Wolf discovered a neat [and we know today, correct] way of calibrating the sunspot counts, using the influence of solar far Ultra Violet on the ionosphere and the resulting geomagnetic variations. Wolf, of course, did not know the physics behind this, but got the method right anyway. This is an example of a correlation without a mechanism [at the time].

tallbloke
December 29, 2010 10:11 am

Leif Svalgaard says:
December 29, 2010 at 9:53 am
Sweden

Are the records publicly accessible?

December 29, 2010 10:17 am

Geoff Sharp seems to think that a modern 150 mm telescope will “see more”. Frankly, this is irrelevant. I used to make visual observations in the 1960s and report them to the BAA. I found that in good seeing conditions the granulation of the solar surface was just visible in a 2.5 cm telescope and really stood out in a 7.5 cm telescope, the problem lay in deciding visually what was a small pore and what was merely an artifact of the granulation. My problem with the observations during the Maunder Minimum lies with the type of telescope in use then. Non-achromatic refractors with resultant abysmal resolution and reflectors with mirrors made of speculum metal which would rapidly deform with solar heating (particularly a secondary mirror which would be subject to enhanced heating?) In my active time as an amateur observer I experimented with a simple non-achromatic refractor and found that only the largest sunspot groups could be seen. Has anybody attempted the reconstruction of a 1700s telescope and used it for solar observations?

December 29, 2010 10:18 am

tallbloke says:
December 29, 2010 at 10:11 am
Are the records publicly accessible?
Google ‘swedish auroral catalog rubenson’

December 29, 2010 10:40 am

Ira Glickstein says:
December 29, 2010 at 9:42 am
I would like your expert opinions of David Archibald’s Figure 9, analogizing SC3, SC4, SC5 and SC6 (1777 thru 1821, prior to and during the Dalton minimum)
Wolf himself when he compiled his sunspot series has this to say about SC5:
a. Arago, Herschel, Fritsch, Flaugergues saw 1801-1802 ‘rich groups.
b. in 1803-1804 this richness was extraordinary.
c. Fritsch saw in 180201803 often more than 50 large spots.
d. Eimbeke states that he has never seen as persistent and often occurring spots as in 1803.
e. Huth says that he had never seen as many and as large spots as in 1804.
f. Huth, Bode, Flaugerguess mention large spots in 1805
g. first in 1807 did the spots begin to abate
h. Fritch, Bode, Gruithusen and Ende agree that around 1810 the sun only had few spots and those were very small.
i. Fritch counted in 1817 often more than 100 spots per day, several naked-eye spots
Based on these observations of sunspots Wolf gave SC5 a rather high count of 75 in his list of 1874. When Wolf got Rubenson’s auroral catalog, he decided in his 1882 list to reduce [based on aurorae, not sunspots] the size of SC5 to 47.5 and hence was born the Dalton minimum.

Robuk
December 29, 2010 10:49 am

Leif Svalgaard says:
December 29, 2010 at 6:22 am
The original telescope has been in continuous use since 1856 to this day.
The daulton ended around 1830, why use a scope that was constructed in 1856 and is superior to other earlier scopes, the event was over 25 years before this scope was constructed, how can the Maunda Min be compared using this scope.
Messier’s favorite instrument was a 32-feet FL, 7.5-inch aperture Gregorian reflector with mag. 104x. Bailly has computed that the effective aperture of this instrument was equivalent to a 3.5-inch refractor. Even worse was the situation for the old Newtonian reflector he came over with from Delisle, which was an 8-inch but as effective as a 2.5-inch refractor only, so it was little used, although it seems this was the “original” instrument at Hotel de Cluny, Messier’s observatory. Later he preferred to use several 3.5-inch (90 mm) achromatic refractors, which were usually about 3.5 feet long and magnifying 120 times. He selected to use these scopes because they were the best accessible instruments for him.
It remains to state that all of Messier’s instruments could probably not compete with a modern 4-inch refractor
http://i446.photobucket.com/albums/qq187/bobclive/Wolf-Telescope.png

John from CA
December 29, 2010 11:04 am

Lief and Ira,
Sorry if I was a bit hard nosed about this post — I’d hate to see NASA discounted for something they had nothing to do with and, though I’m not a big fan of NASA’s news department, I am a big fan of their and our other amazing science agency accomplishments.
In the face of it, I thought I’d share an antique family recipe that is best served with a hot cup of coffee or a good glass of red wine.
Anise Toast
Ingredients:
6 eggs
1 cup sugar
1 cup cake or bread flour
2 tsp Anise seeds
pinch of salt
Instructions:
6 eggs separated: beat whites stiff — set aside; beat yokes ’til light yellow and then gradually add 1 cup sugar and 2 tsp Anise seeds until throughly mixed.
Carefully fold the the egg whites into mixture.
Finally, add 1 Cup of either sifted cake or bread flour and a pinch of salt.
Lightly fold into greased pan(s) and bake at 325 degrees F for 25 minutes or until done (use a tooth pick to test)
Let stand until cool and cut in the pan into strips (bread knife works best). Remove from the pan, cover with a dish towel, and let dry overnight on a rack. Toast in the oven the next day (sides slightly brown) and serve.
Happy New Year

tallbloke
December 29, 2010 11:05 am

Leif Svalgaard says:
December 29, 2010 at 10:40 am
Based on these observations of sunspots Wolf gave SC5 a rather high count of 75 in his list of 1874. When Wolf got Rubenson’s auroral catalog, he decided in his 1882 list to reduce [based on aurorae, not sunspots] the size of SC5 to 47.5 and hence was born the Dalton minimum.

Clearly you believe the count should be higher. Did Wolf’s original count of 75 influence your prediction for sc24?

John from CA
December 29, 2010 11:39 am

RE:
John from CA says:
December 29, 2010 at 11:04 am
Note: The pan should be 8″ x 11″ x 2″ or a bit larger but not deeper. Strips are pan width and cut to preference (1/2″, 3/4″, or 1″)

December 29, 2010 12:36 pm

Leif Svalgaard says:
December 29, 2010 at 9:53 am
Sweden

Are the records publicly accessible? 8 brb

John Whitman
December 29, 2010 3:00 pm

John F. Hultquist says:
December 28, 2010 at 8:40 am
Leif,
Thanks for your participation and good will. And also thanks to others in good faith who think of and ask questions.
I always learn something.
Twenty-eleven is looking like an even more interesting time than was twenty-ten.
Thanks, everyone.

————–
Leif,
I warmly agree with the above comment of John F. Hultquist.
Today I learned from you the existence of solar cycles existing in stars similar to our sun’s ~ 11 yr cycle (actually it is a ~22 yr cycle, n’est-ce pas?). I thank Berényi Péter (@ December 28, 2010 at 12:02 am) for asking you the great question about it.
Also, I learned about the interesting dynamic interaction of a group of scientists on NOAA’s Solar Cycle 24 Prediction Panel. Thanks for the insight into the solar science community; it adds to the credibility of science.
Leif – Please note that I am in SF and still have that bottle of Scandinavian white lightning in my daughter’s freezer here. Should I drop it by your place? Hope there is not a charge for late tuition payment. : )
Happy Holidays to all . . . . but especially to Anthony & his family and of course the WUWT band of merry moderators!!
John

December 29, 2010 3:38 pm

Brian Carter says:
December 29, 2010 at 10:17 am
Geoff Sharp seems to think that a modern 150 mm telescope will “see more”. Frankly, this is irrelevant.
A 80mm refractor with good lenses and good viewing has a resolution of 1051 kilometers on the solar surface, a 150mm refractor can see down to 558 kilometers. Locarno and Catania count specks that are 700 kilometers across, the older telescopes cannot do this. But yes I agree the old lenses would have also struggled.

December 29, 2010 4:18 pm

Geoff Sharp says:
December 29, 2010 at 3:38 pm
Brian Carter says:
December 29, 2010 at 10:17 am
Geoff Sharp seems to think that a modern 150 mm telescope will “see more”. Frankly, this is irrelevant.
A 80mm refractor with good lenses and good viewing has a resolution of 1051 kilometers on the solar surface, a 150mm refractor can see down to 558 kilometers. Locarno and Catania count specks that are 700 kilometers across, the older telescopes cannot do this. But yes I agree the old lenses would have also struggled.

There is no such thing as “good viewing” wrt. refractors, other types of telescopes, or astronomical observation in general. A “good viewing” sounds like a TV-program experience.
The proper term is “seeing”, it describes the amount of turbulence in the Earth’s atmosphere. Poor seeing corresponds to much turbulence. The seeing is a function of weather, location and other factors, but independent of the telescope.
It is also incorrect to say that a telescope with a given aperture has a given resolution. The resolution depends on the magnification, i.e. the focal length and optical quality of the eyepiece.
And finally, with visual observation, the final resolution also depends on the observer. Registering details requires training.

December 29, 2010 5:47 pm

Robuk says:
December 29, 2010 at 10:49 am
It remains to state that all of Messier’s instruments could probably not compete with a modern 4-inch refractor
Interesting, but irrelevant, because the standard is still the old Fraunhofer 80 mm refractor. Observers strive to match their observations to what the 80 mm could see.
John from CA says:
December 29, 2010 at 11:04 am
tallbloke says:
December 29, 2010 at 11:05 am
Clearly you believe the count should be higher.
For starters it should be 20% higher because of Waldmeier. I’m not so sure the auroral data are as good as Wolf thought. This is something I’m looking into with the hindsight of our modern understanding of the aurora. What strikes me is that all those seasoned observers who had just witnessed a strong cycle 4 tell us us cycle 5 had extraordinarily ‘richness’ of spots. That doesn’t sound like a Grand Minimum to me.
Did Wolf’s original count of 75 influence your prediction for sc24?
Of course not, the Sun doesn’t remember that far back. Our paper http://www.leif.org/research/Cycle%2024%20Smallest%20100%20years.pdf explains exactly on what our prediction is based.
John from CA says:
December 29, 2010 at 11:39 am
John Whitman says:
December 29, 2010 at 3:00 pm
Leif – Please note that I am in SF and still have that bottle of Scandinavian white lightning in my daughter’s freezer here. Should I drop it by your place? Hope there is not a charge for late tuition payment. : )
We were just in town celebrating our wedding anniversary. You are welcome to drop by any time.
Carsten Arnholm, Norway says:
December 29, 2010 at 4:18 pm
Geoff Sharp seems to think that a modern 150 mm telescope will “see more”. Frankly, this is irrelevant.
Also irrelevant because the sunspot counts from 150 mm telescopes match those obtained from the original 80 mm, so theory aside, empirical evidence says the telescope doesn’t matter, once it is good enough i.e. magnification x64.
The proper term is “seeing”, it describes the amount of turbulence in the Earth’s atmosphere. Poor seeing corresponds to much turbulence. The seeing is a function of weather, location and other factors, but independent of the telescope.
And finally, with visual observation, the final resolution also depends on the observer. Registering details requires training.
it takes several years to learn how to observe sunspots. Here are typical ‘learning curves’ for Wolfer and another assistant: http://www.leif.org/research/K-Factor-Learning-Curve.png
10 years seems to be a good number.

December 29, 2010 5:57 pm

After much searching, Landscheidt predicted SC 24 maxima at 2011.8 ±0.16 years (around 2 months) with R<80.
http://bourabai.narod.ru/landscheidt/extrema.htm So Leif have you read Landscheidt's paper?
In Lanscheidt's words: A forecast experiment could help to decide whether this is correct. Those are the kind of words I expect from someone looking at all the angles.

KBK
December 29, 2010 6:20 pm

I, for one, wish that Mr. Sharp would keep a more civil tongue. His interjections don’t help his argumentation.

December 29, 2010 6:31 pm

Geoff Sharp says:
December 29, 2010 at 3:38 pm
A 80mm refractor with good lenses and good viewing has a resolution of 1051 kilometers on the solar surface, a 150mm refractor can see down to 558 kilometers. Locarno and Catania count specks that are 700 kilometers across, the older telescopes cannot do this.
Daytime seeing limits the resolution to 1-3″, typically 1.5″ on a very good day. Only on rare occasions [1% of the time] does the seeing allow a resolution of 1″. This depends on the atmosphere, not on the telescope. 1″ is 700 km, 1.5″ is 1500 km. Schaefer made the definitive study of this http://www.leif.org/EOS/Schaefer-1993ApJ-411-909.pdf
He points out that: “Even in modern times, all sunspot counting is done with the human eye and a small telescope [he recommends 50 mm at high magnification]. So the primary record of solar activity since 1610 is based on the human eye seeking sunspots at the limits of vision” [ultimately determined by the seeing]

December 29, 2010 6:44 pm

Carsten Arnholm, Norway says:
December 29, 2010 at 4:18 pm
It is also incorrect to say that a telescope with a given aperture has a given resolution. The resolution depends on the magnification, i.e. the focal length and optical quality of the eyepiece.
I am assuming the end magnification is 64x. My point is that two telescopes set up with 64x magnification and differing aperture sizes will have different resolution. You know this to be true, but it is not getting through to Leif, even though it has been explained many times. I have also had this confirmed from the head sunspot recorder at Locarno who is now retiring after 5o years of service.
I have two telescopes of my own that are setup similar (70mm & 110mm). The 110mm definitely sees more.

December 29, 2010 6:47 pm

KBK says:
December 29, 2010 at 6:20 pm
I, for one, wish that Mr. Sharp would keep a more civil tongue. His interjections don’t help his argumentation.
Dont worry Leif knows how to dish it out, perhaps you have not been around long enough to witness. But I will take your comments onboard.

December 29, 2010 7:15 pm

Ira Glickstein says:
December 29, 2010 at 10:36 am
Am I correct to assume the predicted peak year will be 2014 or later?
We did not attempt to predict the peak date. Our paper mentions 2010 but that was a ‘nominal’ date [obtained by adding 10 to the previous peak date 2000], so not really a prediction. 2014 sounds like a good peak date, but the whole notion of a peak date is somewhat mushy. I think there is a good chance that SC24 will look something like SC14. Here is SC14: http://www.leif.org/research/SC14.png
Try to find a meaningful peak date…

December 29, 2010 8:32 pm

Geoff Sharp says:
December 29, 2010 at 6:44 pm
I am assuming the end magnification is 64x. My point is that two telescopes set up with 64x magnification and differing aperture sizes will have different resolution.
This is irrelevant as the seeing is limiting what you can see. Bill Livingston with the biggest solar telescope in the world [a solar image 4 feet across] does not see more spots than the standard 80 mm refractor.
I have two telescopes of my own that are setup similar (70mm & 110mm). The 110mm definitely sees more.
As Schaefer explains it takes years of training to seek out sunspots [and it is a bit garder on the smaller scope], and you are not nearly there. What is the magnification of the two scopes? And the filters?
You ignore the fact that Locarno [times 0.6] reports the same as SIDC which reports essentially the same as Keller/Friedli [apart from SIDC being a tad too low].
I have also had this confirmed from the head sunspot recorder at Locarno who is now retiring after 5o years of service.
Yet his count is substantially identical to Keller/Friedli with 80 mm. Did you ask the question correctly? If you asked: does a 150 mm telescope have greater resolution than a 80 mm telescope? the answer might be yes. If you had asked: given that seeing limits what you can see to 2″, do you see more with a bigger telescope? the answer would be no.
I realize that you may not understand the subtlety of seeing and telescopes, but you should be able to compare simple numbers. So take Locarno and compute the count for several months. Then take SIDC and do the same. You can even take Keller/Fridli [from here ]. If you do not wish to do this then just look at the graphs I have already shown you [where I did it for you]. One more time: 0.6 * raw Locarno = 0.6 * raw Keller = SIDC, so count(150 mm) = count(80 mm) because for both the seeing is the limiting factor.

December 29, 2010 8:38 pm

The end of my comment was garbled. Here is what it should say:
You can even take Keller/Fridli from here
You’ll find that 0.6 * raw Locarno = Keller = SIDC [Keller and SIDC are laready multiplied by 0.6 before repoting, hence count(150 mm) = count (80) because they are both limited by seeing.

December 29, 2010 8:45 pm

dscott says:
December 29, 2010 at 5:57 pm
After much searching, Landscheidt predicted SC 24 maxima at 2011.8 ±0.16 years (around 2 months) with R<80.
So Leif have you read Landscheidt’s paper?

Of course. And as should be clear it is failing. Just a few years earlier he predicted that cycle 22 would be very small, another failure.
Now, a test of a theory is not that is makes a successful prediction. It is a prediction that is correct when all other predictions are wrong.

December 29, 2010 9:08 pm

Ira Glickstein, PhD says:
December 29, 2010 at 8:57 pm
but I don’t think any reasonable person would disagree given the full, filtered trace. Does anyone disagree?
The red curve is the official smoothed graph, but note how the little maximum wiggles fall in the local minima of the unfiltered curve. This is an artifact of the crude smoothing method, and a better method gives a different result. But I think I didn’t express my point clearly enough: of course with any set of numbers you can always find one that is not smaller than all the rest, but since there are so many sharp peaks it does not make physical sense to single one out from the bunch as ‘the’ maximum as there are many that could make almost the same claim and solar activity would be substantially different for any of them.

December 29, 2010 9:10 pm

Leif Svalgaard says:
December 29, 2010 at 9:08 pm
solar activity would NOT be substantially different for any of them.

rbateman
December 29, 2010 9:20 pm

Robuk says:
December 29, 2010 at 6:07 am
The most significant thing about a large sunspot is that it takes a great number of very small ones to equal it in total area.
SC24 Sunspot area is barely up where SC22/23 bottomed out.
The little spreckles don’t make much weight in the scales.
Nicht ser gut.

December 29, 2010 9:25 pm

Leif Svalgaard says:
December 29, 2010 at 8:32 pm
I realize that you may not understand the subtlety of seeing and telescopes, but you should be able to compare simple numbers. So take Locarno and compute the count for several months. Then take SIDC and do the same. You can even take Keller/Fridli [from
What I understand is what is counted on the official Locarno and Catania sunspot records. By then comparing them with the SDO high resolution image it is easy to work out the pixel size and hence the kilometer size. That is all the proof needed. The specks counted would not be possible on an 80mm telescope. My telescopes are 60x with “seymour” glass filters. We need to see the keller drawings before we can say he is seeing the same.

Pops
December 30, 2010 4:00 am

They’ve done it again – anything to pump-up the numbers:
NOAA named another speck, 1039, that is gone already.

gary gulrud
December 30, 2010 6:07 am

“They’ve done it again”
The paradigm seems to be broken. Solar revisionism is as futile now as the Climate version. Scientific ‘careers’ are now lost forever in data corruption.

December 30, 2010 6:13 am

Leif Svalgaard says:
December 29, 2010 at 8:32 pm
This is irrelevant as the seeing is limiting what you can see. Bill Livingston with the biggest solar telescope in the world [a solar image 4 feet across] does not see more spots than the standard 80 mm refractor.
Not irrelevant, and you provide another smoke screen. A standard telescope that does not have adaptive optics that equalizes atmospheric turbulence is restricted to the atmospheric conditions of the day. A large aperture telescope can be limited by atmospheric conditions, making it no better than a hobby telescope from Walmart, but this is extreme considering the siting of the official telescopes. Catania enjoys very good seeing conditions year round that disagrees with your statement. You are also assuming every day is a bad seeing day, the L&P telescope will see so much more on a good day.

December 30, 2010 7:35 am

Geoff Sharp says:
December 29, 2010 at 9:25 pm
We need to see the keller drawings before we can say he is seeing the same.
No drawings are made. The observations are [as they always were] direct visual. [how many times have I said that?]
What is important are the actual counts reported by the observers and they show 0.6*raw Locarno = reduced Locarno = Waldmeier = SIDC = Keller.
The seeing is also a function of location, and of time of day [best at 6 am], so you have to compare apples to apples. Catania is on a mountain in Sicily and has often exceptional seeing [1-1.5″]. But, anyway, again, the numbers the observers report are what we should use. For Catania the k-factor is 0.54 [for 2007-2010].

December 30, 2010 7:55 am

Geoff Sharp says:
December 30, 2010 at 6:13 am
A large aperture telescope can be limited by atmospheric conditions, making it no better than a hobby telescope from Walmart,
You got it.
but this is extreme considering the siting of the official telescopes.
These sites are often mediocre. In cities.
Catania enjoys very good seeing conditions year round that disagrees with your statement.
Catania has good seeing, and that is why its k-factor [0.54] is smaller than the 0.6.
You are also assuming every day is a bad seeing day, the L&P telescope will see so much more on a good day.
The seeing is still the limiting factor. Of course, everybody will see more on a good day and on a bad day. Why is important are the numbers the observers report as I have pointed out many times.
I think the purpose of your orange-apple comparison has been lost. The issue should be: Do we count more today than Waldmeier, Keller, and Zelenka would have counted? All the evidence we have says ‘no’. Differences between observers, telescopes, weighting, seeing, etc are handled by k-factors that are carefully determined to maintain homogeneity with Waldmeier and the 80 mm standard original telescope. If anything, the official count [SIDC] is a bit too low.

December 30, 2010 8:21 am

Leif Svalgaard says:
December 30, 2010 at 7:35 am
What is important are the actual counts reported by the observers and they show 0.6*raw Locarno = reduced Locarno = Waldmeier = SIDC = Keller.
Waldmeier kept a very close eye on Locarno and determined its k-factor every year.
Here are his results
projection 25 cm projection 25 cm
Observer Location k-factor Observer Location k-factor
Rapp Locarno 0.78
Rapp Locarno 0.67
Rapp Locarno 0.68
Rapp Locarno 0.74
Rapp Locarno 0.75
Rapp Locarno 0.83
Rapp Locarno 0.77
Rapp Locarno 0.81
Rapp Locarno 0.79
Rapp Locarno 0.94
Rapp Locarno 0.78
Rapp Locarno 0.75
Rapp Locarno 0.8 Cortesi Locarno 0.53
Cortesi Locarno 0.58
Pittini Locarno 0.59 Cortesi Locarno 0.58
Pittini Locarno 0.6 Cortesi Locarno 0.59
Pittini Locarno 0.6 Cortesi Locarno 0.58
Pittini Locarno 0.57 Cortesi Locarno 0.59
Pittini Locarno 0.64 Cortesi Locarno 0.65
Pittini Locarno 0.6 Cortesi Locarno 0.6
Pittini Locarno 0.62 Cortesi Locarno 0.6
Pittini Locarno 0.59 Cortesi Locarno 0.6
Pittini Locarno 0.59 Cortesi Locarno 0.6
Pittini Locarno 0.62 Cortesi Locarno 0.66
Pittini Locarno 0.59 Cortesi Locarno 0.57
Pittini Locarno 0.6 Cortesi Locarno 0.62
Pittini Locarno 0.6 Cortesi Locarno 0.58
Pittini Locarno 0.6 Cortesi Locarno 0.57
Pittini Locarno 0.6 Cortesi Locarno 0.61
Pittini Locarno 0.6 Cortesi Locarno 0.6
Pittini Locarno 0.6 Cortesi Locarno 0.59
Pittini Locarno 0.6 Cortesi Locarno 0.59
Pittini Locarno 0.6 Cortesi Locarno 0.57
Pittini Locarno 0.6 Cortesi Locarno 0.58
Rapp had a k-factor of 0.78, compared to the others 0.6. This shows the effect of the observer. [A higher k-factor means that you see less].

December 30, 2010 8:30 am

Leif Svalgaard says:
December 30, 2010 at 8:21 am
Waldmeier kept a very close eye on Locarno and determined its k-factor every year.
I forgot the years. They go from 1945 to 1978.

Pamela Gray
December 30, 2010 8:57 am

Leif shows way more patience that I. Having been a mother of 3, plus a mother of a few waifs in the neighborhood, and being a teacher, by now I would have said:
“Because I told you so, that’s why!”

December 30, 2010 9:26 am

Pamela Gray says:
December 30, 2010 at 8:57 am
Leif shows way more patience that I. Having been a mother of 3, plus a mother of a few waifs in the neighborhood, and being a teacher, by now I would have said:
None of our four children have ever listened to us….
But as a responsible parent, you keep trying…

Pops
December 30, 2010 10:37 am

Now it really is a joke. The latest sunspot, 1140, is only just visible even with all the latest scopes and satellites – it’s barely made it over the limb – yet it has been numbered. Chances are it will stick, but what will they do if it fades before the end of the day? Let me guess….
http://www.solarcycle24.com/

December 30, 2010 11:21 am

Pops says:
December 30, 2010 at 10:37 am
yet it has been numbered. Chances are it will stick, but what will they do if it fades before the end of the day? Let me guess….
The rules for numbering state that if a spot is seen by one than one observer [on the ground – not by spacecraft] and lives for at least twelve hours then it will be counted. Fair enough?

Robuk
December 30, 2010 1:09 pm

Lets get this straight, it is accepted that the low sunspot count in the Maunda was accurate in so far as the equipment allowed and there were enough dedicated observers.
It is also agreed that the climate at the time of those low sunspot observations was unusually cold, the same can be said of the Daulton, low count cold climate, the sun climate link.
Today we have a low count and its cold, but todays count according to some is not really that low so that the present cold period has nothing to do with the sun, it is different to the Maunda and the Daulton, the high activity of the sun since 1950 also has nothing to do with the warming since 1975, thats down to CO2.
The only reason I can see for every speck to be counted today is to distance the present from the past and break the sun climate link, is that correct Leif.

Pops
December 30, 2010 1:18 pm

“The rules for numbering state that if a spot is seen by one than one observer [on the ground – not by spacecraft] and lives for at least twelve hours then it will be counted. Fair enough?”
I bow, as a child humbled before the master… but please check your spelling before posting.

December 30, 2010 2:47 pm

Robuk says:
December 30, 2010 at 1:09 pm
It is also agreed that the climate at the time of those low sunspot observations was unusually cold, the same can be said of the Dalton, low count cold climate, the sun climate link.
The Dalton is more uncertain as the sunspot number is not well determined and the cold not only due to the sun [there was severe volcanic activity].
Today we have a low count and its cold 2010 is the warmest year yet … or so it is said
The only reason I can see for every speck to be counted today is to distance the present from the past and break the sun climate link, is that correct Leif.
Then everyone of the hundreds of amateurs all over the world that count sunspots must be in on that conspiracy. I don’t think so.
And, BTW, the official sunspot count is a bit too low since 2001 compared to all other evidence [and counts] we have, so I don’t see the conspiracy at work [rather the opposite]. At any rate, I know the people involved in this and can vouch for their integrity [this does not mean that they don’t make errors, just that they are honest].
Often, people when they are fixed on an idea will blame the data, the observers, the government, aliens from out space, whomever when the idea doesn’t hold up.

Pops
December 30, 2010 3:02 pm

Robuk says:
December 30, 2010 at 1:09 pm
“…The only reason I can see for every speck to be counted today is to distance the present from the past and break the sun climate link, is that correct Leif.”
Excellent hypothesis, Robuk. You have my vote.

December 30, 2010 3:30 pm

Pops says:
December 30, 2010 at 3:02 pm
Excellent hypothesis, Robuk. You have my vote.
The hypothesis is false, if for no other reason that it goes the wrong way. The official sunspot counts are too low. for two reasons:
1) the SIDC values have drifted lower since 2001 compared to all other observers
2) the number of spots per unit of solar F10.7 flux is decreasing, see http://www.leif.org/research/Solar-Microwaves-at-23-24-Minimum.pdf
One should not jump to conspiracy theories when one does not know the facts.

December 30, 2010 4:17 pm

Leif Svalgaard says:
December 30, 2010 at 8:21 am
Waldmeier kept a very close eye on Locarno and determined its k-factor every year.
The only way to do a comparison is to have the same observer count through both telescopes, they also need to use the same counting method. Do you know if Locarno was using the Waldmeier weighting method back in the early days pre SIDC?
Cortesi is the main man who took over in 1981 when Locarno became the standard, he also emailed me informing me of the resolution difference between the two telescopes. A lot of his values are sub 0.6.
The telescope aperture seeing factor would put upward pressure on the count, along with the increased speck ratio today. The aperture factor would not be large when solar activity is high but as the speck ratio increases a difference should be apparent as is suggested in Cortesi’s numbers during the low cycle 20. Today’s speck ratio is most likely higher again which cannot be ignored, but the Waldmeier weighting method would be responsible for the largest step.
Pops says:
December 30, 2010 at 10:37 am
Now it really is a joke. The latest sunspot, 1140, is only just visible even with all the latest scopes and satellites – it’s barely made it over the limb
1138 & 1139 probably wont be counted by the LSC today. But the expected NOAA number 1140 could be another large unipolar group.

Robuk
December 30, 2010 4:39 pm

Leif Svalgaard says:
December 30, 2010 at 2:47 pm
The Dalton is more uncertain as the sunspot number is not well determined and the cold not only due to the sun [there was severe volcanic activity].
The Daulton from around 1790 to 1830.
One can see that sunspot numbers were unreliable in 1789,1790,1792, and 1793, they were reliable since 1795 and more or less reliable in the ascending phase in 1786-88.
Over the 40 years from 1790 to 1830 they were unreliable for 2 years, reliable in 1791 and from 1795 to 1830=36 years and more or less reliable for 2 years from 1786 to 1788, I would say that coverage is pretty good.
http://spaceweb.oulu.fi/~kalevi/publications/non-refereed2/ESA_SP477_lostcycle.pdf
Leif says,
Then everyone of the hundreds of amateurs all over the world that count sunspots must be in on that conspiracy. I don’t think so.
No, its a contest, the first to see a spot, doesn`t matter how big, its reported then classified later.
I know the people involved in this and can vouch for their integrity
Integrity doesn`t come into it.
Often, people when they are fixed on an idea will blame the data,
Exactly, you say the Dalton is more uncertain even though the count was reliable or more or less reliable for 38 0f those 40 years.

December 30, 2010 5:21 pm

Leif Svalgaard says:
December 30, 2010 at 3:30 pm
The official sunspot counts are too low. for two reasons:
1) the SIDC values have drifted lower since 2001 compared to all other observers
2) the number of spots per unit of solar F10.7 flux is decreasing, see http://www.leif.org/research/Solar-Microwaves-at-23-24-Minimum.pdf
One should not jump to conspiracy theories when one does not know the facts.

It is tiring having to continually point out Leif’s incorrect statements that he continues to display even after the facts have been presented. This is a science blog where propaganda should not cloud the facts. In the interest of proper science I will continue to rebuff his incorrect statements (however boring it may be to some).
1. The SIDC does not drift lower compared to all other observers after 2001. NOAA would be considered a major observer, since 2001 the SIDC value has tracked at 0.6 of NOAA. In fact after 2001 is where the two organizations came together as can be seen HERE.
2. The spot to F10.7 flux ratio is not decreasing. It only does so according to Leif’s version of the F10.7 record. When the standard F10.7 flux values are used there is little divergence.
I emailed the head of the SIDC some time ago re these findings. He was very appreciative.

December 30, 2010 6:05 pm

Robuk says:
December 30, 2010 at 4:39 pm
I would say that coverage is pretty good.
I would not say that 24 days with date out of 182 makes for a reliable count. But you are missing the point entirely, even if there were an observation every day, we don’t know what the calibration is. We don’t know if a reported number of 50 was actually 80 or 30.
No, its a contest, the first to see a spot, doesn`t matter how big, its reported then classified later.
Nonsense, the observers usually send in their data once a month and usually don’t know what the others see.
Geoff Sharp says:
December 30, 2010 at 4:17 pm
The only way to do a comparison is to have the same observer count through both telescopes
No, use your brain. If one count twice as much as another it just means that his k-factor is half of the other guy’s. And Waldmeier was a control freak and often went to Locarno to check on the observations.
Do you know if Locarno was using the Waldmeier weighting method back in the early days pre SIDC?
Locarno was founded by Zurich so went by Zurich rules, and I gave you a list of k-values for Locarno since 1945. Cortesi started in 1957 and his k-value has been constant 0.59+/-0.02 ever since.
Cortesi is the main man who took over in 1981 when Locarno became the standard, he also emailed me informing me of the resolution difference between the two telescopes. /i>
What was the email you sent, and what was his reply? Have you forgotten the email from Clette that says that the telescope doesn’t matter?
A lot of his values are sub 0.6.
his k-values 1957-1978:
0.53, 0.58, 0.58, 0.59, 0.58, 0.59, 0.65, 0.6, 0.6, 0.6, 0.6, 0.66, 0.57, 0.62, 0.58, 0.57, 0.61, 0.6, 0.59, 0.59, 0.57, 0.58
And it is still around 0.59 now.
The telescope aperture seeing factor would put upward pressure on the count
What you can see depends on the magnification and the seeing, not on the aperture. And you ignore that the count today is too low, not too high. And that the k-factor has been constant since 1957.
as is suggested in Cortesi’s numbers during the low cycle 20.
during cycle 20, Cortesi’s k-factor was 0.599.

December 30, 2010 6:33 pm

Geoff Sharp says:
December 30, 2010 at 5:21 pm
1. The SIDC does not drift lower compared to all other observers after 2001. NOAA would be considered a major observer, since 2001 the SIDC value has tracked at 0.6 of NOAA. In fact after 2001 is where the two organizations came together as can be seen HERE.
No, what you show is that before 2001, the k-factor for NOAA was higher [0.66] than after 2001 [0.61]. This is clearly shown here: http://www.leif.org/research/NOAA-vs-SIDC.png
2. The spot to F10.7 flux ratio is not decreasing. It only does so according to Leif’s version of the F10.7 record. When the standard F10.7 flux values are used there is little divergence.
Ken Tapping discovered the divergence using his [Canadian F10.7] values. Here is a plot using only the official values: http://www.leif.org/research/Canadian%20F107%20flux%20and%20SSN.png showing the same thing: Ri being too low in SC23-24
Both of these things have been shown to you multiple times, but you seem fact-resistant. Perhaps this time, you’ll acknowledge the facts.
I emailed the head of the SIDC some time ago re these findings. He was very appreciative.

December 30, 2010 6:39 pm

Geoff Sharp says:
December 30, 2010 at 5:21 pm
I emailed the head of the SIDC some time ago re these findings. He was very appreciative.
You were telling him about my findings [e.g. Waldmeier jump], and, of course, he was appreciative as any person would be in his situation. He also told you in no uncertain terms that the seeing was setting the limit [and also that there is a minimum size of a spot] and that therefore the telescope was not a factor. And last, but not least, he asked not to used to promote your ‘ideas’.

December 30, 2010 7:11 pm

Leif Svalgaard says:
December 30, 2010 at 6:05 pm
I am away for at least a day, but will come back.

December 30, 2010 8:44 pm

Geoff Sharp says:
December 30, 2010 at 7:11 pm
I am away for at least a day, but will come back.
Happy New Year, then. Hope that you have learned something from this exchange and possibly shall update your website based on this newfound insight.

Jcarels
December 31, 2010 6:05 am

Seeing conditions during the day are a lot better than what Leif says:
Paris 17 April 2010 h. 10: 1=0.79″ 2=1.28″
Paris 24 April 2010 h. 9: 1=1.23″ 2=0.86″
Locarno 9 August 2008 h. 17: 1=0.76″ 2=0.60″
Locarno 9 August 2008 h. 17 (2): 1=0.87″ 2=0.95″

Robuk
December 31, 2010 6:49 am

Leif Svalgaard says:
December 30, 2010 at 2:47 pm
2010 is the warmest year yet … or so it is said,
And you believe that drivel.
Nasa,
For reasons no one understands, the sunspot cycle REVIVED itself in the early 18th century and has carried on since with the familiar 11-year period.
So the Maunda was one on its own was it,
The link below appears to show that the solar cycle was still ACTIVE throughout the maunda as it was during the Daulton and did NOT revive itself, so no difference there.
We don’t know if a reported number of 50 was actually 80 or 30.
You are suggesting that there was a normal count in the daulton and that todays count is normal so NO sun climate link.
You can`t rubbish the Maunda data but it appears you are intent in discrediting anything to do with the Daulton, which you are well aware links the three events together, the Maunda, the Daulton and the present.
http://cc.oulu.fi/~usoskin/personal/Miyahara_AG06.pdf

Mr Green Genes
December 31, 2010 6:55 am

rbateman says:
December 29, 2010 at 9:20 pm
The most significant thing about a large sunspot is that it takes a great number of very small ones to equal it in total area.
SC24 Sunspot area is barely up where SC22/23 bottomed out.
The little spreckles don’t make much weight in the scales.
Nicht ser gut.

There’s been a lot of discussion about numbers of sun spots and whether or not specks would have been counted in the past but this leads me to a (possibly) naive question from a novice.
Does size matter and is it taken into consideration?

December 31, 2010 7:55 am

Jcarels says:
December 31, 2010 at 6:05 am
Seeing conditions during the day are a lot better than what Leif says
The numbers you quote relate to a video camera with exposure times of the order of 1/100 second [brief moments of good seeing occur]. Seeing of 1″ does occur, but only 1% of the time. Typical seeing is much worse. The Mt. Wilson Solar Seeing Scale is a rough guide to how seeing can vary:
1 = Solar image looks like a “Circular Saw Blade.” Completely out of focus. Limb motion and resolution greater than 10 arcsec. Smaller sunspots will not be seen.
2 = Solar image is always fuzzy and out of focus. No sharp periods. Limb motion and resolution in the 5 to 10 arcsec range.
3 = Solar image about half the time sharp and half the time fuzzy. Some short periods where granulation is visible. Limb motion and resolution in the 3 arcsec range.
4 = Solar image more often sharp than not. Granulation almost always visible. Limb motion and resolution in the 1 to 2 arcsec range.
5 = Solar image looks like an “engraving.” Extremely sharp and steady. Limb motion and resolution 1 arcsec or better.
Seeing 5 is very rare. The average seeing is about 3.
But all of this is really not relevant. What is relevant are the actual sunspot numbers reported by the observers, no matter how arrived at [observations, magic, whatever]. The data shows that if you multiply raw Locarno [that is what is observed, or rather reported, before manipulating the data, e.g. here: http://www.specola.ch/e/drawings.html ] by 0.6 you get the same numbers as reported by SIDC. The latter is 0.6 times the numbers seen using the 80 mm telescope that was used by Wolf and every observer at Zurich ever since. So, raw Locarno = raw 80 mm count. As simple as that. All the rest are strawmen.

December 31, 2010 8:07 am

Robuk says:
December 31, 2010 at 6:49 am

You are suggesting that there was a normal count in the daulton and that todays count is normal so NO sun climate link.

I’m saying we don’t know precisely what the count was. Contemporary observers reported a very active sun.
There is definitely a sun-climate link. The sun has a barely measurable influence on the climate of the order of a tenth or two of a degree.
Mr Green Genes says:
December 31, 2010 at 6:55 am
Does size matter and is it taken into consideration?
Yes and no. The original sunspot count was made without regard to the size of the spots. In 1945, sunspot counters decided to weight the count by the size of the spots. This destroyed the homogeneity of the record [the sunspots number since then is 20% higher than they would have been if the original method had been followed] and lead people to believe that solar activity in the last half of the 10th century was large than it actually was.

johnnythelowery
December 31, 2010 8:22 am

LEIF: Happy New Year to you and to one and all. Fantastically informative thread, if only to find out that where we are is where we should be! Spent the entire morning reading all of it. Leif wields an axe sharper than Gimli’s in Lord of the Rings but has shown enourmous patience here IMHO. I read this as it is relevant to the AGW topic one way or another. While 2010 was warm, considering we have a dead sun and while i’ve read a minimal sun coinciding with a Pacific Decadel Oscilation will bring the heavy winters, the cold/snow records now being made suggests we are past a PDO/Minimum correlation
(otherwise they wouldn’t be breaking 100, 200+ year records, etc.)
My question for LEIF:
1. Do you see a connection between all these Sun spot records and climate over the Eons
2. Scarfetta accused you of having an agenda here at WUWT?(i can dig it out if you want me to)? Was his accusation that you refuse to allow for a coupling of the Sun to climate(in the face of what he feels is hard evidence to suggest otherwise I suppose)?
3. If it was shown the Sun did drive climate variation, what would be, do you think, the best candidate for a mechanism?
And be nice me. I often show my wife your responses to show her i’m not completely wasting my time hanging out here at WUWT. I’ve tried to explain it’s entertainment value, which she doesn’t get, and it’s interesting nature, which she doesn’t get, and it’s got celebrities(for which I might need a picture of you!)

December 31, 2010 8:46 am

Leif Svalgaard says:
December 31, 2010 at 8:07 am
lead people to believe that solar activity in the last half of the 10th century was large than it actually was.
The 20th, of course. I’ll move my keyboard to the left half an inch…
johnnythelowery says:
December 31, 2010 at 8:22 am
My question for LEIF:
1. Do you see a connection between all these Sun spot records and climate over the Eons
Yes and no. There is certainly a 0.1-0.2 degree connection, but no more, IMHO. This is an unpopular view, so people cannot accuse me of being an exponent for mainstream, consensus group-think 🙂
2. Scarfetta accused you of having an agenda here at WUWT?(i can dig it out if you want me to)? Was his accusation that you refuse to allow for a coupling of the Sun to climate(in the face of what he feels is hard evidence to suggest otherwise I suppose)?
I don’t know what that agenda would be [and am I not the best to know?]
3. If it was shown the Sun did drive climate variation, what would be, do you think, the best candidate for a mechanism?
It does contribute to climate variations [but at a tiny level at this point in time, but just wait a billion years…]. If I knew of a mechanism [or could think of one that makes sense] I would probably believe [contrary to evidence] that the Sun had a major influence.
(for which I might need a picture of you!)
http://www.leif.org/research/Pretty-me.png
The ‘pretty’ just refers to comparison with another picture that was ‘awful’.
A picture was requested by Nature Magazine doing an article on solar cycles and Pretty-me [taken by my son Mikael – give credit where credit is due] was what they used.

johnnythelowery
December 31, 2010 9:21 am

Two Irishmen in a pub: one says to the other “Hey, I saw a spot on the Sun today” and the other goes “yeah, that was me. He was rude to his mother!!!”

johnnythelowery
December 31, 2010 9:25 am

Thanks much. I think she likes the ‘Firth Colin in Girls blouse’ look but i’ll have a go!

Robuk
December 31, 2010 10:42 am

Scarfetta accused you of having an agenda here at WUWT? Was his accusation that you refuse to allow for a coupling of the Sun to climate(in the face of what he feels is hard evidence to suggest otherwise I suppose)?
I think that`s about it for me, I think Leif is a true believer, the AGW kind.

December 31, 2010 11:07 am

Jcarels says:
December 31, 2010 at 6:05 am
Seeing conditions during the day are a lot better than what Leif says
Seeing 5 is very rare. The average seeing is about 3.
I forgot to mention that Locarno uses the inverse of the Mt. Wilson Scale, with 1 being perfect and 5 very bad. On each Locarno drawing the seeing is indicated. Typical value is 3. SIDC alsouses the Mt. Wilson seeing scale [often indicated on Locarno drawings too].
The k-factor depends on seeing as follows [for Kandili Observatory http://www.springerlink.com/content/q36kv02740646965/ 25 cm image]:
seeing 1 [bad]: k=0.96
2: k= 0.95
3: k= 0.90
4: k= 0.83
5: k= 0.74
A k smaller than 0.6 means that you see more spots than Wolfer [with his 80 mm scope]. A k larger than 0.6 means that you see fewer spots than Wolfer.

December 31, 2010 11:11 am

Robuk says:
December 31, 2010 at 10:42 am
Scarfetta accused you of having an agenda here at WUWT? Was his accusation that you refuse to allow for a coupling of the Sun to climate(in the face of what he feels is hard evidence to suggest otherwise I suppose)?
Is it an agenda to realize that Scafetta has not presented compelling evidence? In that case I’m guilty as charged.
I think that`s about it for me, I think Leif is a true believer, the AGW kind.
good riddance.

December 31, 2010 12:29 pm

A good review of solar cycle prediction is here
http://www.leif.org/EOS/1012-5513v1.pdf

Carla
December 31, 2010 2:44 pm

rbateman says:
December 29, 2010 at 9:20 pm
..Nicht ser gut.
~
My guess was,’ not so good,’ I was close.
http://www2.nict.go.jp/y/y223/simulation/realtime/movie.html
12.30.10 Couple of flashes in the pan.
Leif thanks for your patience..watch out for those “Interstellar influences on the solar system,” this coming year. lol
My eldest bro has a bit more of that grey wisdom on his head than you do. ( that’s what we call it) For some reason we go from light to white. lol

December 31, 2010 8:22 pm

Leif Svalgaard says:
December 30, 2010 at 8:44 pm
Geoff Sharp says:
December 30, 2010 at 7:11 pm
I am away for at least a day, but will come back.
———————————–
Happy New Year, then. Hope that you have learned something from this exchange and possibly shall update your website based on this newfound insight.

Happy New Year also, but unfortunately you have not provided any evidence that provides insight in this case. That would be very different on other occasions. I can only provide information which provides a counter argument that people then make their own judgments.
Leif Svalgaard says:
December 30, 2010 at 6:05 pm
Geoff Sharp says:
December 30, 2010 at 4:17 pm
The only way to do a comparison is to have the same observer count through both telescopes
——————————
No, use your brain. If one count twice as much as another it just means that his k-factor is half of the other guy’s. And Waldmeier was a control freak and often went to Locarno to check on the observations.

The brain is heavily in use, but you are not seeing the logic. Think increased speck ratio. When Waldmeier was doing his comparison it was with two different observers in times of high activity. If Cortesi had a similar factor to Zulrich that does not mean the record will remain homogeneous in future times when new observers are appointed, along with the speck ratio changes like now that enable the 150mm telescope with its extra seeing to record more.
A question on the Cortesi factor: What is that factor applied to, I remember you were confused several days ago about a 0.6 telescope factor you suggested was necessary to align the 150mm and 80mm telescopes.
Cortesi is the main man who took over in 1981 when Locarno became the standard, he also emailed me informing me of the resolution difference between the two telescopes. /i>
What was the email you sent, and what was his reply? Have you forgotten the email from Clette that says that the telescope doesn’t matter?

Email transcript below, I dont think Sergio would mind.
Hi Sergio,
My name is Geoff Sharp and I run the Layman’s Sunspot Count http://www.landscheidt.info/?q=node/50
This count uses the SIDC values but attempts to discount off the Waldmeier factor as well as establish a threshold
like Wolf did. The purpose of this count is so that the current cycle can be compared with the early Wolf cycles.
The Layman’s Sunspot Count has a large daily readership. There has been a lot of recent discussion in regards to how the SIDC
aligned their count to the Waldmeier count in 1981. Also in question is whether the 3 64x telescopes Locarno, Catania and the
original Wolf 64x telescope all have the same resolution or seeing power.
We can see that there is a Waldmeier weighting factor involved in the raw Locarno daily record. Is the Waldmeier weighting
factor applied exactly as it was pre 1945 on the Wolf telescope or has it been modified to suit the Locarno telescope and ensure
an alignment with past records and also the F10.7 flux record?
Thanks in advance, I appreciate the many years of service you have provided for solar science.
Geoff Sharp.
Hi Geoff,
When Waldmeier retired in 1980 and the reasonability to calculate the sunspot number Ri moved from Zurich to SICD the problem of the continuity was explored in a serious way.
It was decided to take Locarno data as reference in order to avoid changes in the counting procedure.
Tests with the F10.7 flux were performed later to check the quality of the work, but the flux data was not used to calibrate the data reduction method!
If you are interested in more details, you can ask directly Frederic Clette (“Frédéric Clette” ) or consult his publications, as probably you already did.
The telescope originally used by Wolf did not have the same resolution as the instruments used now. The reduction factor k {R = k(10g+f)} was introduced to take care of this problem.
The reduction factor k is decided by SICD, before by Zurich.
Sergio Cortesi
—————————
His response is interesting, he acknowledges there is a difference in resolution and that a factor was applied to rectify. But if we look at the raw Locarno figures on average they are not double discounted. The non inclusion of F10.7 data also of interest. Clette’s email as you suggest has some errors (perhaps), I think (and so does Sergio) that he is wrong about the 50mm telescope seeing the same as the 150mm. Notice also he did not answer my query re using the full Waldmeier method which we have both seen can vary at Locarno……I don’t think we have all the answers yet.
Jcarels says:
December 31, 2010 at 6:05 am
Seeing conditions during the day are a lot better than what Leif says:
I have poured over many drawings from Locarno and Catania. Catania encounter level 1 conditions (best) on many occasions. Locarno not as good but not uncommon to see level 2 conditions. Of interest is that Catania can see 1000km specks in level 3 conditions suggesting this is not a standard telescope or they get good windows of opportunity in very average seeing conditions.

December 31, 2010 9:16 pm

Leif Svalgaard says:
December 30, 2010 at 6:39 pm
Geoff Sharp says:
December 30, 2010 at 5:21 pm
I emailed the head of the SIDC some time ago re these findings. He was very appreciative.
———————————–
You were telling him about my findings [e.g. Waldmeier jump], and, of course, he was appreciative as any person would be in his situation. He also told you in no uncertain terms that the seeing was setting the limit [and also that there is a minimum size of a spot] and that therefore the telescope was not a factor. And last, but not least, he asked not to used to promote your ‘ideas’.
You have this one way wrong.
My only response from Ronald Van der Linden was a brief message thanking me for my supplementary data.
If you referring to Frederick Clette’s emails you have twisted the wording. Just re reading them now he describes a 2000 km spot as a minimum spot that a 50mm telescope could see and that this size is the minimum spot. This is correct if 2000km was the minimum and hence his reference to the telescopes being of no difference at this level, but unfortunately this is not the minimum size of speck that is recorded. If Locarno and Catania (dont forget Catania specks have been used to break spotless runs in the past) did not record specks under 1000km then there is an argument the telescope aperture is not important….but this is not the case. The SDO images are now giving us an instrument to measure what they are counting. Your use of the minimum size speck is wrong.
I cannot see anywhere in his email that I should not “promote my ideas” You might need to explain that one.
Frederick has asked us to be patient while he investigates some of the history of the sunspot record in relation to Waldmeier and the SIDC. There is obviously some doubt that needs to be investigated, we should probably not speculate too much and await the outcome.
Reading your conversations with Frederick I am not convinced that the Locarno 150mm was compared with the 80mm at the time of the SIDC takeover. Can I suggest if you want to discuss this, it be done privately through email.

tallbloke
January 1, 2011 2:50 am

Robuk says:
December 31, 2010 at 10:42 am
Scarfetta accused you of having an agenda here at WUWT? Was his accusation that you refuse to allow for a coupling of the Sun to climate(in the face of what he feels is hard evidence to suggest otherwise I suppose)?
I think that`s about it for me, I think Leif is a true believer, the AGW kind.

Leif is on record here at WUWT referring to “the AGW nonsense”
http://wattsupwiththat.com/2009/05/31/new-cycle-24-spots-emerging/#comment-140437
I do think he should clarify his comment about Scafetta though. What did he say and when that you interpret as an accusation of having an agenda Leif?
Also, it’s not uncommon for Leif to cast aspersions on people by saying that they ‘ignore evidence’ that runs contrary to their ‘pet theory’. So he shouldn’t be too surprised if they respond in kind.

tallbloke
January 1, 2011 3:31 am

Leif Svalgaard says:
December 31, 2010 at 8:07 am
Robuk says:
December 31, 2010 at 6:49 am
You are suggesting that there was a normal count in the daulton and that todays count is normal so NO sun climate link.
I’m saying we don’t know precisely what the count was. Contemporary observers reported a very active sun.
There is definitely a sun-climate link. The sun has a barely measurable influence on the climate of the order of a tenth or two of a degree.

Leif, you listed some of the notes from Wolf’s notebook:
Wolf himself when he compiled his sunspot series has this to say about SC5:
a. Arago, Herschel, Fritsch, Flaugergues saw 1801-1802 ‘rich groups.
b. in 1803-1804 this richness was extraordinary.
c. Fritsch saw in 180201803 often more than 50 large spots.
d. Eimbeke states that he has never seen as persistent and often occurring spots as in 1803.
e. Huth says that he had never seen as many and as large spots as in 1804.
f. Huth, Bode, Flaugerguess mention large spots in 1805
g. first in 1807 did the spots begin to abate
h. Fritch, Bode, Gruithusen and Ende agree that around 1810 the sun only had few spots and those were very small.
i. Fritch counted in 1817 often more than 100 spots per day, several naked-eye spots
Based on these observations of sunspots Wolf gave SC5 a rather high count of 75 in his list of 1874. When Wolf got Rubenson’s auroral catalog, he decided in his 1882 list to reduce [based on aurorae, not sunspots] the size of SC5 to 47.5 and hence was born the Dalton minimum.

First of all, observation (i) is from the peak of solar cycle 6 not solar cycle 5.
Are these notes the total of what Wolf had on direct observations of sunspots during the 1803-1817 periof, or are these the ‘highlights’ from a longer set of notes?
Thanks

Jcarels
January 1, 2011 5:31 am

Leif Svalgaard says:
I forgot to mention that Locarno uses the inverse of the Mt. Wilson Scale, with 1 being perfect and 5 very bad. On each Locarno drawing the seeing is indicated. Typical value is 3. SIDC alsouses the Mt. Wilson seeing scale [often indicated on Locarno drawings too].
The k-factor depends on seeing as follows [for Kandili Observatory http://www.springerlink.com/content/q36kv02740646965/ 25 cm image]:
seeing 1 [bad]: k=0.96
2: k= 0.95
3: k= 0.90
4: k= 0.83
5: k= 0.74
A k smaller than 0.6 means that you see more spots than Wolfer [with his 80 mm scope]. A k larger than 0.6 means that you see fewer spots than Wolfer.

Looks like some things have improved at Kandilli since 1986, because they have lower K-values now (0.6550 in 2008).

January 1, 2011 6:22 am

Geoff Sharp says:
December 31, 2010 at 8:22 pm
When Waldmeier was doing his comparison it was with two different observers in times of high activity.
The comparison was done every year and 1954 was very quiet.
If Cortesi had a similar factor to Zulrich that does not mean the record will remain homogeneous in future times when new observers are appointed, along with the speck ratio changes like now that enable the 150mm telescope with its extra seeing to record more.
The evidence shows that the factor has stayed constant over time and that it even today is still near 0.6, so has not changed. And we have to go with the data we have, not with what you think it will become in the future.
A question on the Cortesi factor: What is that factor applied to, I remember you were confused several days ago about a 0.6 telescope factor you suggested was necessary to align the 150mm and 80mm telescopes.
I was playing Devil’s advocate for a moment. Assume that there actually was a difference between 150 and 80, then to account for the fact that published numbers show that there is not, I was entertaining the possibility that there was a hidden 0.6 to make the numbers the same. Having looked at more data, I’ve discounted that idea. There is no hidden factor, and the published numbers match the drawings, so I [and you] will have to accept that the 150 and 80 see the same spots.
The telescope originally used by Wolf did not have the same resolution as the instruments used now. The reduction factor k {R = k(10g+f)} was introduced to take care of this problem.
Is not very illuminating [and actually wrong]. The resolution doesn’t matter if seeing sets the limit. And the k was introduced by Wolfer to take care of the difference in counting method, not because of difference in telescope as the telescope did not change. Finally, k for Wolfer and Waldmeier [with 80mm] and for Sergio [with 150] are the same [0.6] so one can only conclude that the count is the same.
But if we look at the raw Locarno figures on average they are not double discounted.
I agree, so we have to accept that Locarno sees the same as Zurich.
Clette’s email as you suggest has some errors (perhaps), I think (and so does Sergio) that he is wrong about the 50mm telescope seeing the same as the 150mm.
the 50 mm is sort of a strawman as the issue is with 80 mm.
Notice also he did not answer my query re using the full Waldmeier method which we have both seen can vary at Locarno……I don’t think we have all the answers yet.
The Waldmeier method did [and does] not ‘vary’ at Locarno. I think the situation by now is crystal clear: Zurich and Locarno use the same method, and they see the same spots. Or at least their published numbers are the same. This is the key point. All the waffling about seeing is irrelevant. What matters are the numbers they actually publish.
Locarno not as good but not uncommon to see level 2 conditions.
Even level 2 means that the seeing limit is between 1 and 2″, and not ‘uncommon’ is vague. If you actually look at the data objectively, you see that 1 is 1.6%, 2 is 29.6%, 3 is 55%, 4 is 12.7%, and 5 is 1%. Locarno often report ‘2,3’ which I count as one 2 and one 3. There are very few pure 2s.
But all of this is completely irrelevant [serves as useful distractions, of course]. What is important is that the numbers reported if multiplied by 0.6 match Keller [who reports his 80 mm count also multiplied by 0.6].
Geoff Sharp says:
December 31, 2010 at 9:16 pm
My only response from Ronald Van der Linden was a brief message thanking me for my supplementary data.
Thus a boiler plate reply, which you called ‘very appreciative’…
Your use of the minimum size speck is wrong./i>
Just referring to what the observers say. The point is: what can they see with a seeing of 3?
I cannot see anywhere in his email that I should not “promote my ideas” You might need to explain that one.
He says that you should not use his email for that, as he does not want to be used. Even us discussing this he would not condone.
There is obviously some doubt that needs to be investigated, we should probably not speculate too much and await the outcome.
The situation is already clear. The wait for them to revise their numbers might be a long one.
Reading your conversations with Frederick I am not convinced that the Locarno 150mm was compared with the 80mm at the time of the SIDC takeover. Can I suggest if you want to discuss this, it be done privately through email.
No discussion is needed as the situation is already clear. You just need to accept the facts. From http://www.icsu-fags.org/ps11sidc.htm : “The Sunspot Index Data Centre was founded in 1981 to continue the work of the Zurich Observatory. With Andre Koeckelenberg as first director, the Sunspot Index Data Centre started in January 1981 the computation and the diffusion of the INTERNATIONAL SUNSPOT NUMBER (Ri), of which the continuity and coherence with the former Zurich index Rz was insured by the use of the Specola Solare Ticinese Locarno as reference station.” What they did was to note that Locarno had had a factor of 0.6 [for Cortesi] against Rz at all times and that that factor should be continued.
tallbloke says:
January 1, 2011 at 2:50 am
What did he say and when that you interpret as an accusation of having an agenda Leif?
Isn’t it the other way around: Scafetta says I have an agenda. And he is correct, of course. My agenda is to set the record straight.
First of all, observation (i) is from the peak of solar cycle 6 not solar cycle 5.
SC6 was part of the Dalton too.
Are these notes the total of what Wolf had on direct observations of sunspots during the 1803-1817 period, or are these the ‘highlights’ from a longer set of notes?
This is what he based his initial assessment on, see: http://www.leif.org/EOS/Wolf-I.pdf page XVIII. He later dug up some more, but didn’t change the size of SC5, until 1882.

January 1, 2011 6:31 am

Jcarels says:
January 1, 2011 at 5:31 am
“A k smaller than 0.6 means that you see more spots than Wolfer [with his 80 mm scope]. A k larger than 0.6 means that you see fewer spots than Wolfer.”
Looks like some things have improved at Kandilli since 1986, because they have lower K-values now (0.6550 in 2008).

The k-value also depends on the observer. But still, their new value is larger than 0.6 so they see with their 200mm telescope fewer spots than Wolfer did with his 80mm.
The observer effect is also clearly seen for Locarno. The observer before Cortesi [with k=0.59] was Rapp who had k=0.8, so saw significantly fewer spots.

Robuk
January 1, 2011 9:14 am

From Mount Wilson Solar Observatory
Therefore, we are forced to conclude that the Sun does experience occasional lulls in its activity. Using other proxies of long-term activity, such as the 14C abundance, we can see that the Sun goes into these quiescent periods every few centuries. At present we seem to be experiencing the opposite phenomenon; the most recent four cycles are among THE MOST ACTIVE EVER RECORDED.
http://www.mtwilson.edu/hk/Maunder/
Its accepted that the solar cycles continued as normal through the Maunda but at a lower activity level. It is also accepted that this low activity probably caused the cooler temperatures at that time.
Why should it not be feasable to accept that the most active 4 cycles ever recorded up to cycle 23 caused the present warming.
Why should it not be feasable to accept the lack of activity today from such a recent high has little effect on temperature.
http://i446.photobucket.com/albums/qq187/bobclive/10be14c.jpg
You can see from the link above that 10be correlates well with the sunspot count up to 1900, the last link shows 10be beyond that point.
http://www.novaquatis.eawag.ch/organisation/abteilungen/surf/publikationen/2009_berggren.pdf
Our new data from NGRIP does involve LOW 10be values during much of the 20th century, ( but by no means at an unusually low level).
See for yourself below,
http://i446.photobucket.com/albums/qq187/bobclive/befluxDye3-2.jpg
Looks like the 10be count from 1900 is pretty low to me.

January 1, 2011 9:31 am

Robuk says:
January 1, 2011 at 9:14 am
the most recent four cycles are among THE MOST ACTIVE EVER RECORDED.
Certainly not. Cycle 20 was pretty low, cycle 17 was higher than 20 and 23, so was cycle 4.
It is also accepted that this low activity probably caused the cooler temperatures at that time.
no, it is conjectured, not accepted.
Looks like the 10be count from 1900 is pretty low to me.
The 10Be count is influenced by climate, so you have a circular argument.

tallbloke
January 1, 2011 10:05 am

Leif Svalgaard says:
January 1, 2011 at 6:22 am
tallbloke says:
January 1, 2011 at 2:50 am
What did he say and when that you interpret as an accusation of having an agenda Leif?
Isn’t it the other way around: Scafetta says I have an agenda. And he is correct, of course. My agenda is to set the record straight.

Well that’s what I’m asking. Can you reference thealleged accusation from Scafetta?
And we all know how straight (and level) you’d like to set the solar record Leif. 😉
First of all, observation (i) is from the peak of solar cycle 6 not solar cycle 5.
SC6 was part of the Dalton too.

You introduced the notes as applying to SC5
Are these notes the total of what Wolf had on direct observations of sunspots during the 1803-1817 period, or are these the ‘highlights’ from a longer set of notes?
This is what he based his initial assessment on, see: http://www.leif.org/EOS/Wolf-I.pdf page XVIII. He later dug up some more, but didn’t change the size of SC5, until 1882.

So earlier he decided the cycle was higher, then he “dug up some more” which later led to his re-estimation.

Robuk
January 1, 2011 10:31 am

Leif Svalgaard says:
January 1, 2011 at 9:31 am
Robuk says:
January 1, 2011 at 9:14 am
the most recent four cycles are among THE MOST ACTIVE EVER RECORDED.
Certainly not. Cycle 20 was pretty low, cycle 17 was higher than 20 and 23, so was cycle 4.
I didn`t say that it came from here,
http://www.mtwilson.edu/hk/Maunder/
Looks like the 10be count from 1900 is pretty low to me.
The 10Be count is influenced by climate, so you have a circular argument.
=====================================================
Although 10be data from the SOUTHERN HEMISPHERE would be a great contribution, existing data is of TO LOW A RESOLUTION to accurately reflect the Schwabe cycle variations, since we focus here on DECADAL variations we EXCLUDE lower resolution data, ( South pole data ).
Same paper,
Our new data from NGRIP does involve LOW 10be values during much of the 20th century, ( but by no means at an unusually low level), see previous post.
The Dye-3 flux decreases in the 20th century, a fact that has been used to support a theory that the sun has been unusually active since 1940, this conclusion has been disputed by (Raisbeck and Yiou 2004) BASED ON SOUTH POLE 10be data.
I thought they said the southern hemisphere data was too CAUSE, seems to me they didn`t get the result they expected, they can`t accept their own data
So according to Leif, the 10Be count is influenced by climate when it shows a good correlation to the sunspot count in the past, but when it shows that same good correlation in the present it`s influenced by climate.
WELL IF 10be COUNT IS INFLUENCED BY CLIMATE AND HENCE IS UNRELIABLE THERE IS LOT OF PEOPLE OUT THERE TRYING TO DISCREDIT IT, I WONDER WHY.
http://www.novaquatis.eawag.ch/organisation/abteilungen/surf/publikationen/2009_berggren.pdf

johnnythelowery
January 1, 2011 12:17 pm

I will find it and link it. It was in, I think, a thread posted by Scarfetta himself here but it was here on WUWT that it was made. I’ll have to go back through the titles and see.

johnnythelowery
January 1, 2011 12:24 pm

If some one says one person has an agenda, is up to that person to fess up to it or is the owness on the one making the accusation? The latter. Which can only be done by Science in the traditonal pre post-normal fashion. And to be fair to Leif: he does have a professional position. His opinions carry weight whereas I can wax on lyrical about any old rubbish and if i’m wrong, no harm done.

Robuk
January 1, 2011 3:23 pm

Sorry I meant,
So according to Leif, the 10Be count is NOT influenced by climate when it shows a good correlation to the sunspot count in the past, but when it shows that same good correlation in the present it is influenced by climate.

Robuk
January 1, 2011 3:59 pm

Leif Svalgaard says:
January 1, 2011 at 9:31 am
The 10Be count is influenced by climate, so you have a circular argument.
Give me an example, a study some evidence, I believe Gunnar asked this same question in 2007, has the evidence accumulating yet.
=====================================================
Leif Svalgaard
Posted Nov 27, 2007 at 5:51 PM | Permalink
Gunnar: nej, dansk, living in Houston, TX.
About evidence:
What I’m talking about is that there is accumulating evidence that our previous ‘dogma’ that solar activity was the highest ever (or at least in the last umpteen thousand years) is crumbling. This is all quite new and is still being debated and well-entrenched opinions die slowly [often have to await the departure of their carriers]. Science is largely self-correcting and will eventually come around so that progress can be made. This takes a certain amount of time during which confusion and heated arguments will reign. But to be proactive y’all might at least contemplate what your stance about climate change would be, should I turn out to be correct that solar activity right now is no different from what it was 100-160 years ago.

Robuk
January 1, 2011 4:13 pm

This is the 2007 discussion with Leif.
http://climateaudit.org/2007/11/30/svalgaard-solar-theory/

johnnythelowery